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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

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Higher value and pay to stay regulations likely to be delayed 22/07/2016

ARCH members attending our Regional Event yesterday (Thursday 21 July) and heard from officials at the DCLG that publication of the Higher Value and Pay to Stay Regulations are likely to be delayed.

 

Over 70 delegates from 49 stock retained councils and ALMOs attended our event in London. This was the first event held in conjunction with the NFA (National Federation of ALMOs).

 

We had timed the event in the expectation that the Regulations, Determinations and Guidance on the RTB Levy, Sale of higher value voids, Pay to Stay and phasing out of lifetime tenancies would have been published following granting of Royal Assent to the Housing and Planning Bill on 12 May 2016. DCLG officials had previously indicated that the Regulations and Guidance were expected to have been available this month (July 2016) but could give no firm indication of when local authorities could expect to see them.

 

DCLG officials indicated that a decision on the Regulations and Determinations on the definition of higher value voids and RTB levy was unlikely to be made until September 2016. Although there was a possibility that some information on the draft Determination may potentially be available for informal consultation before September. The Regulations on higher value voids will be subject to scrutiny by both Houses of Parliament and timing will be crucial. At this stage there is a possibility that the first payments from local authorities may not be levied until 2017/18 or later if Parliamentary time cannot be found to debate the draft Regulations prior to 31 March 2017.

 

On Pay to Stay, DCLG officials understood that the proposed implementation date of April 2017 was extremely tight and appreciated that without sight of the draft Regulations and Guidance local authorities could do very little by way of planning for implementation. They also understood the call by ARCH and the NFA to consider delaying implementation.

 

Officials will be discussing the timetable with the new Ministerial Team at DCLG. They asked for any evidence from local authorities of difficulties in implementation by the April 2017 deadline together with evidence of implementation costs and forecasts of additional rental income expected as a result of the agreed income thresholds and tapers.

 

DCLG officials committed to continue on going dialogue with ARCH and the NFA. We have already asked our members to provide such information and evidence in preparation for a meeting with DCLG officials in September.   

 

Delegates discussed the role that local housing companies can play in delivering new homes to meet the government's aspiration of providing an additional 1 million homes by 2020. They heard first hand from Ian Doolittle, Partner at Trowers & Hamlin LLP, on some of the legal issues to consider in setting up local housing companies. City of Lincoln & Oxford City Councils also delivered a presentation on their practical experiences in setting up a local housing company. Delegates also heard from NFA Managing Director, Eamon McGoldrick, and Nottingham City Homes' Chief Executive on how ALMOs are helping their local authorities to deliver more homes of various tenures.

 

Steve Partridge, Executive Director at Octopus QSH, provided an overview on the prospects of securing new sources of finance for housing investment and financing routes from institutions, pension funds and others.

 

All presentations are available in the members' area.

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