Councils should have closer relationship with HAs

New research by the Chartered Institute of Housing has claimed that if the UK is to meet housing needs, local authorities and housing associations need to have a closer relationship.

Building Bridges suggests that local authorities and housing associations partner more closely in a number of major areas, including new systems to establish affordability in their areas and jointly-funded systems to manage allocations and lettings.

The association examines the tensions between the two sets of organisations and makes a series of recommendations on how they could work together more effectively, as well as outlining a series of proposals to government to allow their relationship to thrive.

Recommendations include working in partnership to develop a Local Housing Affordability Framework (LHAF) to identify the required mix of homes and agreed targets in terms of number of homes and range of rents for each tenure, and also develop a new, more dynamic system for allocations and lettings for which the cost is shared.

The new guide also urges the government to make the building of homes with rents that are genuinely affordable to those on low incomes a central policy objective and make it easier for councils to dispose of land so that they have more freedom to facilitate affordable housing supply.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “It is clear that the potential in local authorities and housing associations working together is huge and it has never been more important for these two sets of organisations to be close partners. Building Bridges showcases some great examples of local authorities and housing associations working extremely closely to make sure people in their communities get access to a decent, affordable home.

“Unfortunately this is not a consistent picture and we desperately need to maximise the potential in this relationship if we are going to tackle the housing crisis. It is true that much of the tension between councils and housing associations has its origins in government policy, and in the guide we have made a series of recommendations on how government could act on this. But this research also highlights that by working together more closely and sharing resource councils and housing associations can make sure the right homes are built in the right places.”

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