Obtaining possession for assured tenants- mandatory grounds for possession

At the moment if a landlord under an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) wants to use certain mandatory grounds (i.e. grounds when the Court must order possession) a Court order has to be obtained involving a personal appearance at Court. On the other hand where Section 21 procedure is used there is a paper procedure available. There used to be a paper procedure available in equivalent Rent Act cases e.g. when an owner/occupier wants to regain possession. The Residential Landlords Association believes this paper procedure should be introduced for these cases including Ground 8 based on rent arrears (exceeding 2 months). This would avoid the need for Hearings unless the claim was contested. As with the current Section 21 procedure should the tenant file a meaningful Defence to the case then it would have to be listed for hearing and considered by the Judge. If not contested the possession order could be made by the Judge “on paper” without a Hearing. This would save time and costs. This is particularly so as County Courts face cutbacks both in number and staff. Landlords at the moment have no option but to follow these procedures.

Why is this idea important?

At the moment if a landlord under an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) wants to use certain mandatory grounds (i.e. grounds when the Court must order possession) a Court order has to be obtained involving a personal appearance at Court. On the other hand where Section 21 procedure is used there is a paper procedure available. There used to be a paper procedure available in equivalent Rent Act cases e.g. when an owner/occupier wants to regain possession. The Residential Landlords Association believes this paper procedure should be introduced for these cases including Ground 8 based on rent arrears (exceeding 2 months). This would avoid the need for Hearings unless the claim was contested. As with the current Section 21 procedure should the tenant file a meaningful Defence to the case then it would have to be listed for hearing and considered by the Judge. If not contested the possession order could be made by the Judge “on paper” without a Hearing. This would save time and costs. This is particularly so as County Courts face cutbacks both in number and staff. Landlords at the moment have no option but to follow these procedures.

Self regulation for responsible private rented and sector landlords

Responsible landlords in the private rental sector who are members of an approved accreditation scheme should be subject to self regulation; rather than regulation by the Local Authority. The Residential Landlords Association has prepared a detailed paper on this which is available on its website at www.rla.org. It is stressed that landlords subject to self regulation would have to observe the same legal requirements as any other landlord. Allowing more responsible landlords to self regulate would mean that Local Authorities could concentrate their limited resources on landlords who do a disservice to the private rented sector and its tenants”. Self regulated landlords would then be exempt from both house in multiple occupation licensing (including additional licensing) and selective licensing. It is impossible for Local Authorities to ever have the resources to properly police the private rented sector. The only way that this can be done is to allow the Local Authorities to concentrate their activities on less responsible landlords. Any accreditation scheme would have to be vetted. Some properties would be inspected to ensure compliance.

Local authorities are concerned about the implementation of such a proposal because of the impact of their statutory duties in relation to the Housing Health and Safety Rating system under the Housing Act 2004.  As indicated in our detailed paper on this subject, we believe that there are already measures on the statute book which enable the making of regulations to give a legislative under pinning to the system of self regulation.  Furthermore, orders can be made under the Housing Act 2004 to exempt accredited landlords from licensing of houses in multiple occupation/selective licensing.  There is already a precedent for this anyway in the case of mandatory HMO licensing where adherence to a Code of Practice on the part of educational providers is sufficient for them to obtain exemption from the requirement for an HMO owned/controlled by them to be licensed.

Why is this idea important?

Responsible landlords in the private rental sector who are members of an approved accreditation scheme should be subject to self regulation; rather than regulation by the Local Authority. The Residential Landlords Association has prepared a detailed paper on this which is available on its website at www.rla.org. It is stressed that landlords subject to self regulation would have to observe the same legal requirements as any other landlord. Allowing more responsible landlords to self regulate would mean that Local Authorities could concentrate their limited resources on landlords who do a disservice to the private rented sector and its tenants”. Self regulated landlords would then be exempt from both house in multiple occupation licensing (including additional licensing) and selective licensing. It is impossible for Local Authorities to ever have the resources to properly police the private rented sector. The only way that this can be done is to allow the Local Authorities to concentrate their activities on less responsible landlords. Any accreditation scheme would have to be vetted. Some properties would be inspected to ensure compliance.

Local authorities are concerned about the implementation of such a proposal because of the impact of their statutory duties in relation to the Housing Health and Safety Rating system under the Housing Act 2004.  As indicated in our detailed paper on this subject, we believe that there are already measures on the statute book which enable the making of regulations to give a legislative under pinning to the system of self regulation.  Furthermore, orders can be made under the Housing Act 2004 to exempt accredited landlords from licensing of houses in multiple occupation/selective licensing.  There is already a precedent for this anyway in the case of mandatory HMO licensing where adherence to a Code of Practice on the part of educational providers is sufficient for them to obtain exemption from the requirement for an HMO owned/controlled by them to be licensed.

conservatory red tape / local council job creation exercise

To build a conservatory the council informed me that I should check the .gov website to see if I required planning permission. I consulted the website and I do not.

The council allso informed me that I could check through the microfiches to see if any exclusions were on the property to prevent a conservatory being built or they would do it for us for £75.

When asked to check the records on the property they inform me that a full set of plans must be submitted and that it would be treated as a planning application-why?

They can not apparently just check the records for exclusions -why?

I suggest they offer a check for exclusions on properties for conservatories or any other items that are covered in the .gov website to not need planning permission, as submitting plans for them to look at is just creating work for us and them. Given that the information on the .gov portal is adhered to why put in plans? The only people that even bother to check for exclusions are those trying to do it right anyway most do not bother.

At present the only people that gain from this practise are the council workers by increasing their amount of work at the inconvenience of the public which negates the aim of the .gov planning portal entirely in this respect.

Further rant- why cant I get a job with the local council when I see two lads sitting behind a desk handing out tokens whilst reading car magazines(4 years ago).

I am  56yoa educated to level 4 with a clean record.

Answer I am too old- have no useless degree- would point out all this sort of waste.

Regards and hope this exercise of yours is a success.

Why is this idea important?

To build a conservatory the council informed me that I should check the .gov website to see if I required planning permission. I consulted the website and I do not.

The council allso informed me that I could check through the microfiches to see if any exclusions were on the property to prevent a conservatory being built or they would do it for us for £75.

When asked to check the records on the property they inform me that a full set of plans must be submitted and that it would be treated as a planning application-why?

They can not apparently just check the records for exclusions -why?

I suggest they offer a check for exclusions on properties for conservatories or any other items that are covered in the .gov website to not need planning permission, as submitting plans for them to look at is just creating work for us and them. Given that the information on the .gov portal is adhered to why put in plans? The only people that even bother to check for exclusions are those trying to do it right anyway most do not bother.

At present the only people that gain from this practise are the council workers by increasing their amount of work at the inconvenience of the public which negates the aim of the .gov planning portal entirely in this respect.

Further rant- why cant I get a job with the local council when I see two lads sitting behind a desk handing out tokens whilst reading car magazines(4 years ago).

I am  56yoa educated to level 4 with a clean record.

Answer I am too old- have no useless degree- would point out all this sort of waste.

Regards and hope this exercise of yours is a success.

More freedom to convert offices for residential use

This is just an idea: I want to see what you think.  Every day I walk through London and see dozens upon dozens of offices to let.  Commercial rents are low, and I regularly see 10000 sqft units standing empty.

Would it not make sense to rezone some of these buildings for (temporary or permanent) residential use?

Why is this idea important?

This is just an idea: I want to see what you think.  Every day I walk through London and see dozens upon dozens of offices to let.  Commercial rents are low, and I regularly see 10000 sqft units standing empty.

Would it not make sense to rezone some of these buildings for (temporary or permanent) residential use?

Local Housing Allowance

Direct payment of Housing Benefit to Tenants for onward payment to Landlords should be scrapped.  As a small property letting business it has been a disastrous Govenment ruling.  As stated in other postings relating to this topic it is always private landlords who lose out and when the tenant doesn't pay it is 8 weeks before the Landlord is allowed to apply to the local council to have the rent paid direc to themt!  Even then the Council can elect not to pay direct to the Landlord. 

Another  issue is that this ruling does not apply to Council of Housing Association lettings.  In these circumstances the rent is paid direct to the Landlord.  Why one rule for them and another for the private landlord?

As a private landlord we expect rents to be paid by a tenant 1 month in advance to facilitate payment of mortgages etc.  Housing Benefit was always  paid four weekly in arrears when the housing benefit used to be paid direct to the landlord.  Furthermore if, as a Landlord, you have several tenants on housing benefit then the Council can  make one payment per month for all those tenants.  Under the current LHA each and every one of those tenants are made a payment every two weeks by the Council.  This makes lots of extra paperwork and expense both for the Council and the Landlord, if in deed the tenant bothers to pay you!  Also if the LHA level set by the local Council is more than the figure the Landlord has set for the rent then this additional money is paid to the tenant!!  Why shuld a tenant be paid this additional money out of government money – ie: our taxes?

Why is this idea important?

Direct payment of Housing Benefit to Tenants for onward payment to Landlords should be scrapped.  As a small property letting business it has been a disastrous Govenment ruling.  As stated in other postings relating to this topic it is always private landlords who lose out and when the tenant doesn't pay it is 8 weeks before the Landlord is allowed to apply to the local council to have the rent paid direc to themt!  Even then the Council can elect not to pay direct to the Landlord. 

Another  issue is that this ruling does not apply to Council of Housing Association lettings.  In these circumstances the rent is paid direct to the Landlord.  Why one rule for them and another for the private landlord?

As a private landlord we expect rents to be paid by a tenant 1 month in advance to facilitate payment of mortgages etc.  Housing Benefit was always  paid four weekly in arrears when the housing benefit used to be paid direct to the landlord.  Furthermore if, as a Landlord, you have several tenants on housing benefit then the Council can  make one payment per month for all those tenants.  Under the current LHA each and every one of those tenants are made a payment every two weeks by the Council.  This makes lots of extra paperwork and expense both for the Council and the Landlord, if in deed the tenant bothers to pay you!  Also if the LHA level set by the local Council is more than the figure the Landlord has set for the rent then this additional money is paid to the tenant!!  Why shuld a tenant be paid this additional money out of government money – ie: our taxes?

Cut red tape on Bin Collection

The duty of care – environmental protction act 1990 and the enviromental protection duty of care regulations 1991 state that I must complete a waste transfer notice every year for each waste container I use. This basically states what type of waste I put in the bin and costs me £80 + VAT for each container per year (£160+VAT in my case) for the waste disposal company to administer this document.

 

In simple terms I put cardboard in the cardboard bin and general waste in the general waste bin. Others put glass in their glass bins, plastic in their plastic bin etc etc. To me this seems like a massive waste of time, resources and ultimately money for small businesses with no improved result.

Why is this idea important?

The duty of care – environmental protction act 1990 and the enviromental protection duty of care regulations 1991 state that I must complete a waste transfer notice every year for each waste container I use. This basically states what type of waste I put in the bin and costs me £80 + VAT for each container per year (£160+VAT in my case) for the waste disposal company to administer this document.

 

In simple terms I put cardboard in the cardboard bin and general waste in the general waste bin. Others put glass in their glass bins, plastic in their plastic bin etc etc. To me this seems like a massive waste of time, resources and ultimately money for small businesses with no improved result.

Pavement Parking

My civil libery is to be able to walk along a pavement without  having to negotiate around vehicles that have park on it, it is an offence under the Highway code to drive and park on the pavement, so please introduce a law which protects all pavement users such as Children, disabled people, blind and wheelchair bound, at present we have no law that states its an offence to park a vehicle on a pavement, we have many laws such as a driver of a vehicle must not  use a mobile phone whilst driving a moving vehicle; failure to wear a seat belt not that I want people injured but the only person who invariable gets hurt if they do not wear a seat belt is the person not complying with the law. Both of these being very difficult to Police.  Many groups and assosiations are trying to get this law introduced so that pavements are safe places to proceed along. I believe the Government have duty of care to all persons who use pavements, not introducing this law show the lack of concern for our children and other legal pavement  users.

Why is this idea important?

My civil libery is to be able to walk along a pavement without  having to negotiate around vehicles that have park on it, it is an offence under the Highway code to drive and park on the pavement, so please introduce a law which protects all pavement users such as Children, disabled people, blind and wheelchair bound, at present we have no law that states its an offence to park a vehicle on a pavement, we have many laws such as a driver of a vehicle must not  use a mobile phone whilst driving a moving vehicle; failure to wear a seat belt not that I want people injured but the only person who invariable gets hurt if they do not wear a seat belt is the person not complying with the law. Both of these being very difficult to Police.  Many groups and assosiations are trying to get this law introduced so that pavements are safe places to proceed along. I believe the Government have duty of care to all persons who use pavements, not introducing this law show the lack of concern for our children and other legal pavement  users.

Repeal of the Local Government Act 1972

This statute was never a success and has been amended and altered to an almost unrecognisable version of the original document.If one examines the act today'you will find a byzantine complex of annotations and amendments.Since then a piecemeal succession of powers and responsibilties has been added to local government legislation, which has led in part to the low esteem felt by the general public towards many of the leaders and CEO's in local govt.

It introduced a tier of government which was extremely unpopular with the public at the time and has remained so eversince, namely the District Council.These bodies have struggled to win the affection of their electorate and in the most part failed to achieve even a modicum of approval. This is not the fault of the individuals running them, but the system that set them up.

The adoption of cabinet government has also led to disechantment within the ranks of the excluded Councillors whose only purpose has been reduced to rubber stamping of preordained decisions or to grandstand on minor matters. This has also led to poor performance amongst elected members within the 1st tier, which the Code Of Conduct has done little to reduce or contain.Many Councils are hampered by the vexatious compainant both within and outside the body concerned and my proposal for a new comprehensive settlement Act to improve the standing of local government would introduce a financial deposit to deter wasteful and unnecessary complaints within a new streamlined Code OF conduct.

Boroughs and Rural Districts were forced into a 'shot gun marriage' with often deep rooted suspicions of favouritism for political and parochial reasons being alleged by those who felt left out from a particular item of expenditure or patrimony.

The rise of the quango and so called unitary local authorities has led to a disorganised and confusing mix of local services available to a cynical and disbelieving public, however the nostrum of community action is likely to add to a lack of community cohesion in many cases as it will encourage ideologues to force their particular pet projects within a disempowered system.The way forward is not less or no local government but active and capable government confident of its place within society.At my own level the 1st tier of government, closest to the public is often in conflict and treated with contempt by struggling District Councils, concious of their failing reputation and is itself in need of reform.

My recommendation would enlarge the role of Town Councils with new clearly defined powers to take over local services and assets, currently run by District Councils or Unitaries under a new statute. Rural Parishes would have new light touch regulations under this act,but with the option of forming new rural services boards to in effect cluster joint services, which would be regulated in similar terms to the new Town or Borough Councils.

The services in question could be Housing, Parks and community spaces, toilets,parking enforcement and car parks even harbours and piers.Refuse collection and amenity recycling provision and local control of inshore fisheries are also a possible option.The list is not definitive and would no doubt be subject to alteration.The service providers could vary depending on how strong and effective community action is in any particular area and by negotiation with the restructured County/Metropolitan authorities who act strategically and in partnership with the 1st tier bodies.

The Strategic County and Metropolitan bodies should take over much of the quangocracy again under new clearly defined regulations within this new act.

The new act should be written in clearly defined terms and in an understandable form that meets the objectives of Parliament and is understood easily by practioners and the public, which is why I would suggest its is laid out in sections which deal with each layer of local government and not in the present format where one has to search in various places for the lawfulness of any action.

Where there are statutes that devolve powers on to an authority or restrict its actions in some way, they should be clearly referred to within the new act and their wording and meaning explained within the text.A layout similar to standing orders ora constitution might fulfil this objective.

The new act will replace not only the 1972 Local Govt Act, but other subsequent acts.This might also be a good opportunity to do the same with the various Allotment Acts.

The new act must of course conform to the Human Rights Act 1998.

In conclusion this proposal may be seen as special pleading from a minor section of government, but if one considers this carefully I am certain you will see much to commend a proposal that would set the pattern of local administration on a new course for many years to come, that will allow local communities and yes, community activists a full part in how their towns and villages can improve and develop in prosperity for all.

If you could see the damage wrought by the 1972 Act and a succession of disinterested governments to the South and South East Coastal Communities where I live, you would agree that something radical needs to be done.

Why is this idea important?

This statute was never a success and has been amended and altered to an almost unrecognisable version of the original document.If one examines the act today'you will find a byzantine complex of annotations and amendments.Since then a piecemeal succession of powers and responsibilties has been added to local government legislation, which has led in part to the low esteem felt by the general public towards many of the leaders and CEO's in local govt.

It introduced a tier of government which was extremely unpopular with the public at the time and has remained so eversince, namely the District Council.These bodies have struggled to win the affection of their electorate and in the most part failed to achieve even a modicum of approval. This is not the fault of the individuals running them, but the system that set them up.

The adoption of cabinet government has also led to disechantment within the ranks of the excluded Councillors whose only purpose has been reduced to rubber stamping of preordained decisions or to grandstand on minor matters. This has also led to poor performance amongst elected members within the 1st tier, which the Code Of Conduct has done little to reduce or contain.Many Councils are hampered by the vexatious compainant both within and outside the body concerned and my proposal for a new comprehensive settlement Act to improve the standing of local government would introduce a financial deposit to deter wasteful and unnecessary complaints within a new streamlined Code OF conduct.

Boroughs and Rural Districts were forced into a 'shot gun marriage' with often deep rooted suspicions of favouritism for political and parochial reasons being alleged by those who felt left out from a particular item of expenditure or patrimony.

The rise of the quango and so called unitary local authorities has led to a disorganised and confusing mix of local services available to a cynical and disbelieving public, however the nostrum of community action is likely to add to a lack of community cohesion in many cases as it will encourage ideologues to force their particular pet projects within a disempowered system.The way forward is not less or no local government but active and capable government confident of its place within society.At my own level the 1st tier of government, closest to the public is often in conflict and treated with contempt by struggling District Councils, concious of their failing reputation and is itself in need of reform.

My recommendation would enlarge the role of Town Councils with new clearly defined powers to take over local services and assets, currently run by District Councils or Unitaries under a new statute. Rural Parishes would have new light touch regulations under this act,but with the option of forming new rural services boards to in effect cluster joint services, which would be regulated in similar terms to the new Town or Borough Councils.

The services in question could be Housing, Parks and community spaces, toilets,parking enforcement and car parks even harbours and piers.Refuse collection and amenity recycling provision and local control of inshore fisheries are also a possible option.The list is not definitive and would no doubt be subject to alteration.The service providers could vary depending on how strong and effective community action is in any particular area and by negotiation with the restructured County/Metropolitan authorities who act strategically and in partnership with the 1st tier bodies.

The Strategic County and Metropolitan bodies should take over much of the quangocracy again under new clearly defined regulations within this new act.

The new act should be written in clearly defined terms and in an understandable form that meets the objectives of Parliament and is understood easily by practioners and the public, which is why I would suggest its is laid out in sections which deal with each layer of local government and not in the present format where one has to search in various places for the lawfulness of any action.

Where there are statutes that devolve powers on to an authority or restrict its actions in some way, they should be clearly referred to within the new act and their wording and meaning explained within the text.A layout similar to standing orders ora constitution might fulfil this objective.

The new act will replace not only the 1972 Local Govt Act, but other subsequent acts.This might also be a good opportunity to do the same with the various Allotment Acts.

The new act must of course conform to the Human Rights Act 1998.

In conclusion this proposal may be seen as special pleading from a minor section of government, but if one considers this carefully I am certain you will see much to commend a proposal that would set the pattern of local administration on a new course for many years to come, that will allow local communities and yes, community activists a full part in how their towns and villages can improve and develop in prosperity for all.

If you could see the damage wrought by the 1972 Act and a succession of disinterested governments to the South and South East Coastal Communities where I live, you would agree that something radical needs to be done.

Remove Holiday Home Restrictions

To remove the holiday home restriction so as to allow owners to live in them the whole year round and offer them for long term rent. A lot of these properties are built or converted to Building Regulations the same as full residential properties and have good insulation and heating allowing all year round occupation. This would also ease the shortage of propery in the first time buy segment and make it easier for the prospective purchasers to get morgages on these properties which are currently difficult to get.

Why is this idea important?

To remove the holiday home restriction so as to allow owners to live in them the whole year round and offer them for long term rent. A lot of these properties are built or converted to Building Regulations the same as full residential properties and have good insulation and heating allowing all year round occupation. This would also ease the shortage of propery in the first time buy segment and make it easier for the prospective purchasers to get morgages on these properties which are currently difficult to get.

Housebuild regulations are too exacting

Houses are much too expensive to build and too long-lasting. Social requirements will change much more rapidly than the life of modern houses… for instance, the huge amount of land taken up in bungalow estates (created just 40 years) ago now looks very wasteful.  Some so-called temporary housing methods (often created during wartime) proved remarkably resilient and well-designed, but were very cheap to build, had a light 'footprint' on the earth, and were popular.

Regulation also means that there is too much uniformity, too little local dialect in architectural styles and materials, too little creativity. Regulation mostly derives from standards of construction required by government and administered by local authorities. Of course, such things as drains, water supplies, foundations, safe roofing etc, must reach a certain standard of safety, but there are thousands (millions?) of older houses built to lesser standards which have proved very safe, so the modern standards can be shown to be too high.

It would be of great advantage to have lower standards, using modern technology and materials as well as local traditions to make short-life housing, designed perhaps for 50 years of life instead of 200 years (I don't know what life is expected of modern houses but it is far too long). This would be cheaper (main advantage) and allow new families to set up home. It would allow more flexibility as communities could actively plan for renewals and changes of land use. Old-style builds (present standards) would either go up in value if seen to be attractive, or go down if too expensive…so this would challenge the market to perform better.  It would allow innovative designs to flourish, including strawbale building and the like.

I do not mean that we should encourage shanty towns or poor plans. Just relax the requirements for structure, encourage more renewables (timber instead of concrete) and recycling, bring 'Grand Designs' down to an achievable level for ordinary people. The cost of housing is far far too high in people's budgets – home ownership is unachievable for most people under 30 at the moment and not likely to become so in the foreseeable future. If houses were cheaper, more people could afford them, and more money could be spent on education, arts, sport and the environment.

Why is this idea important?

Houses are much too expensive to build and too long-lasting. Social requirements will change much more rapidly than the life of modern houses… for instance, the huge amount of land taken up in bungalow estates (created just 40 years) ago now looks very wasteful.  Some so-called temporary housing methods (often created during wartime) proved remarkably resilient and well-designed, but were very cheap to build, had a light 'footprint' on the earth, and were popular.

Regulation also means that there is too much uniformity, too little local dialect in architectural styles and materials, too little creativity. Regulation mostly derives from standards of construction required by government and administered by local authorities. Of course, such things as drains, water supplies, foundations, safe roofing etc, must reach a certain standard of safety, but there are thousands (millions?) of older houses built to lesser standards which have proved very safe, so the modern standards can be shown to be too high.

It would be of great advantage to have lower standards, using modern technology and materials as well as local traditions to make short-life housing, designed perhaps for 50 years of life instead of 200 years (I don't know what life is expected of modern houses but it is far too long). This would be cheaper (main advantage) and allow new families to set up home. It would allow more flexibility as communities could actively plan for renewals and changes of land use. Old-style builds (present standards) would either go up in value if seen to be attractive, or go down if too expensive…so this would challenge the market to perform better.  It would allow innovative designs to flourish, including strawbale building and the like.

I do not mean that we should encourage shanty towns or poor plans. Just relax the requirements for structure, encourage more renewables (timber instead of concrete) and recycling, bring 'Grand Designs' down to an achievable level for ordinary people. The cost of housing is far far too high in people's budgets – home ownership is unachievable for most people under 30 at the moment and not likely to become so in the foreseeable future. If houses were cheaper, more people could afford them, and more money could be spent on education, arts, sport and the environment.

Relaxing rules restricting children living above ground floor

To relax the rules that prohibit families with young children from living in accommodation above the ground floor if they so desire to.

It could ease the duration of time spent on waiting lists for social housing with regards to overcrowding and help to sustain communities of similarity, as well as potentially provide more suitable living for children in many properties.

At present in many social housing areas, families with children under 10 years old are refused accomodation above the ground floor, thus massively limiting their options.

However, families / persons without children under 10 years are still have the option to live in those precious few ground floor properties – thus making demand extremely high and availability extremely low.

Relaxing this rule would enable many houses & gardens to be shared by several families with children and not just with other adults.

The reason for the rule at present is given as:

a) Health & Safety issues (due to potential falls one assumes).

and/or

b) Consideration towards the neighbours already living in the property.

It would seem that the Health & safety issue is there more for the defense of the Housing Associations in case they were sued, due to a fall down the stairs or out of an upstairs window rather than the welfare of the children, as surely sharing gardens with strange adults (an assumption) who are not CRB checked, is less safe than sharing with other young children & families?

This obviously doesnt matter if the stairs or windows are internal because the same rule does not apply to individual houses.

Housing associations have many 3+ bedroomed properties that they currently cannot allocate to families who desperately need them because of this rule, instead letting them out to people who do not need such an amount of space.

This is a waste of valuable resources. Housing associations are obliged to attempt to provide suitable housing, so having this extra choice for families would be a good thing.

This request to relax the rules is taking into consideration that some families do not want to live above ground floor, but for those who would choose this option it should be made available.

Why is this idea important?

To relax the rules that prohibit families with young children from living in accommodation above the ground floor if they so desire to.

It could ease the duration of time spent on waiting lists for social housing with regards to overcrowding and help to sustain communities of similarity, as well as potentially provide more suitable living for children in many properties.

At present in many social housing areas, families with children under 10 years old are refused accomodation above the ground floor, thus massively limiting their options.

However, families / persons without children under 10 years are still have the option to live in those precious few ground floor properties – thus making demand extremely high and availability extremely low.

Relaxing this rule would enable many houses & gardens to be shared by several families with children and not just with other adults.

The reason for the rule at present is given as:

a) Health & Safety issues (due to potential falls one assumes).

and/or

b) Consideration towards the neighbours already living in the property.

It would seem that the Health & safety issue is there more for the defense of the Housing Associations in case they were sued, due to a fall down the stairs or out of an upstairs window rather than the welfare of the children, as surely sharing gardens with strange adults (an assumption) who are not CRB checked, is less safe than sharing with other young children & families?

This obviously doesnt matter if the stairs or windows are internal because the same rule does not apply to individual houses.

Housing associations have many 3+ bedroomed properties that they currently cannot allocate to families who desperately need them because of this rule, instead letting them out to people who do not need such an amount of space.

This is a waste of valuable resources. Housing associations are obliged to attempt to provide suitable housing, so having this extra choice for families would be a good thing.

This request to relax the rules is taking into consideration that some families do not want to live above ground floor, but for those who would choose this option it should be made available.

assured tenancies/ pensionfunds

currently one is not allowed to hold residential property in your SAP.

My suggestions is that residential property, let to local authorities/councils on assured tenancies , should be eligible to be held in pension funds

Why is this idea important?

currently one is not allowed to hold residential property in your SAP.

My suggestions is that residential property, let to local authorities/councils on assured tenancies , should be eligible to be held in pension funds

Remove notification, compliance and licensing for landlords

Remove the requirement to notify and license so called HMOs.

Reinvigorate local authority selectivity for rentals for which it pays, but only those for which it pays.

Allow consenting adults to share a dwelling up to it legal maximum capacity if they so wish without bringing in the extra layers of bureaucracy associated with HMO definitions.

Why is this idea important?

Remove the requirement to notify and license so called HMOs.

Reinvigorate local authority selectivity for rentals for which it pays, but only those for which it pays.

Allow consenting adults to share a dwelling up to it legal maximum capacity if they so wish without bringing in the extra layers of bureaucracy associated with HMO definitions.

Allow several people to share a dwelling without permission

Stop the legal requirement to notify and in some cases licence or even apply for planning consent to allow three or more unrelated people to rent and share a dwelling. Housing Act of 2004 and revisions and instruments in 2006 2007 2008… A bad law aimed at doing what the law already provides for but in an unintrusive way.

I am referring to the current preoccupation with "HMO"s

If a local authority is paying the rent, then they have a right to check value for money but otherwise they should butt out! Tenaants can go to trading standards about bad landlords if there is a need. Why spend council tax money and interfere with civil liberties of prospective sharers and landlords.

Why is this idea important?

Stop the legal requirement to notify and in some cases licence or even apply for planning consent to allow three or more unrelated people to rent and share a dwelling. Housing Act of 2004 and revisions and instruments in 2006 2007 2008… A bad law aimed at doing what the law already provides for but in an unintrusive way.

I am referring to the current preoccupation with "HMO"s

If a local authority is paying the rent, then they have a right to check value for money but otherwise they should butt out! Tenaants can go to trading standards about bad landlords if there is a need. Why spend council tax money and interfere with civil liberties of prospective sharers and landlords.

Delete the Service Charges (Summary of Rights & Obligations) Regulations 2007

Consign the ridiculus Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations, and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2007, Statutory Instrument 2007 No 1257 to the dustbin, as the only fit place for it.

Why is this idea important?

Consign the ridiculus Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations, and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2007, Statutory Instrument 2007 No 1257 to the dustbin, as the only fit place for it.

Make it easier for cafes and pubs to have seats, tables & drinks outside.

Pubs and cafes have to apply for licences to put seats and tables outside, and then they are restricted on numbers, allowed hours, and positioning.  My idea is to loosen up the regulations on licencing of pavement usage outside of cafes and pubs.

Presumably there are already laws to prevent businesses from being a nuisance or an obstruction, so why do we need local authority departments presiding over yet more regulation, inspections & paperwork?

Why is this idea important?

Pubs and cafes have to apply for licences to put seats and tables outside, and then they are restricted on numbers, allowed hours, and positioning.  My idea is to loosen up the regulations on licencing of pavement usage outside of cafes and pubs.

Presumably there are already laws to prevent businesses from being a nuisance or an obstruction, so why do we need local authority departments presiding over yet more regulation, inspections & paperwork?

Building regulation enforcement period

Currently a lack of building regulation consent can be enforced at any time. As a result when selling a property a homeowner is often asked to provide evidence of building regulation consent for any works carried out at the property ever. As gas, electrical work and windows are all now subject to building control this regularly delays property sales causing frustration to all concerned. the chances of enforcement action are extremely low, but buyers' solicitors must certify to lenders that the property complies in full with building regulations

Why is this idea important?

Currently a lack of building regulation consent can be enforced at any time. As a result when selling a property a homeowner is often asked to provide evidence of building regulation consent for any works carried out at the property ever. As gas, electrical work and windows are all now subject to building control this regularly delays property sales causing frustration to all concerned. the chances of enforcement action are extremely low, but buyers' solicitors must certify to lenders that the property complies in full with building regulations

Clarification of data sharing obligations of public bodies

To provide a simple requirement to cover the obligations of public bodies to provide (or not) information to each other.

One example of this is Section 17 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 1992, This protects peoples data collected for Council Tax purposes, but appears to conflict with legislation covering, amongst others, HMRC, the police and the CSA. All of these have generic legislation, but make many requests for information from Council Tax authorities, whereas there is specific legislation covering electoral registration and certain housing functions.

There must be many other examples of this where similar disclosure (or non-disclosure) requirements exist.

These uncertainties and conflicts could be removed by a simple piece of generic legislation which could either enable disclosure, or prevent it. I would be happy either way – I just want a) clarity and b) to stop endless arguments about whether someone is entitled to information or not

Why is this idea important?

To provide a simple requirement to cover the obligations of public bodies to provide (or not) information to each other.

One example of this is Section 17 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 1992, This protects peoples data collected for Council Tax purposes, but appears to conflict with legislation covering, amongst others, HMRC, the police and the CSA. All of these have generic legislation, but make many requests for information from Council Tax authorities, whereas there is specific legislation covering electoral registration and certain housing functions.

There must be many other examples of this where similar disclosure (or non-disclosure) requirements exist.

These uncertainties and conflicts could be removed by a simple piece of generic legislation which could either enable disclosure, or prevent it. I would be happy either way – I just want a) clarity and b) to stop endless arguments about whether someone is entitled to information or not

Tenders

The current local authority  PQQ process is long and onerous and rarely suited to service providers , unless building roads. Every tender that is issued requires the completion of another PQQ and a replication of all the supporting documents. This is excessively burdensome for not only the Voluntary sector organisation concerned but also for the local authority which wastes resources examining yet another PQQ from the same organisation.

Suggestion that a successful PQQ  has a one year validity (with the issuing L.A.) which enables the organisation to enter the tender process without the need to continue completing PQQ s. This would free up time and resources for both the charity and local authority.

 

Many local authorities seem to see the Tender process as the only way of procuring new services, or re commissioning existing ones. Local authorities need to be encouraged to use the full range of procurement tools, including: service level agreements, contracts, grants and competitive quotations.

Tenders often ask for qualifications or standards (which are scored) that are out of reach to many smaller VCS due to cost and over bureaucratic systems. These work to the advantage of larger (National) organisations and the  Local Authorities to restrict competition from smaller, locally based organisations. For example IS0 14001 which relates to environmental standards is based primarily on factories and those in manufacturing although it is a tender requirement that scores quite highly. This standard, excluding time spent,  completing the process costs around £2,500 to complete with an annual re-audit of £1000. This is too expensive for small groups to engage with.

Surely an option which would be more cost effective would be for local authorities to either adopt their own standard (developed by the VCS) or use the Charities Evaluation Service  PQASSO system (Practical Quality assurance System for small organisations).

Why is this idea important?

The current local authority  PQQ process is long and onerous and rarely suited to service providers , unless building roads. Every tender that is issued requires the completion of another PQQ and a replication of all the supporting documents. This is excessively burdensome for not only the Voluntary sector organisation concerned but also for the local authority which wastes resources examining yet another PQQ from the same organisation.

Suggestion that a successful PQQ  has a one year validity (with the issuing L.A.) which enables the organisation to enter the tender process without the need to continue completing PQQ s. This would free up time and resources for both the charity and local authority.

 

Many local authorities seem to see the Tender process as the only way of procuring new services, or re commissioning existing ones. Local authorities need to be encouraged to use the full range of procurement tools, including: service level agreements, contracts, grants and competitive quotations.

Tenders often ask for qualifications or standards (which are scored) that are out of reach to many smaller VCS due to cost and over bureaucratic systems. These work to the advantage of larger (National) organisations and the  Local Authorities to restrict competition from smaller, locally based organisations. For example IS0 14001 which relates to environmental standards is based primarily on factories and those in manufacturing although it is a tender requirement that scores quite highly. This standard, excluding time spent,  completing the process costs around £2,500 to complete with an annual re-audit of £1000. This is too expensive for small groups to engage with.

Surely an option which would be more cost effective would be for local authorities to either adopt their own standard (developed by the VCS) or use the Charities Evaluation Service  PQASSO system (Practical Quality assurance System for small organisations).

House purchase

Why can't we adopt a system similar to other countries where once an offer if accepted (subject to a 7 day cooling off period) that the offer is then legally binding.

We have all suffered the pain and stress of the endless delays and sometimes distress of people changing their minds for no apparent reason.

Let's really simplify this process

Why is this idea important?

Why can't we adopt a system similar to other countries where once an offer if accepted (subject to a 7 day cooling off period) that the offer is then legally binding.

We have all suffered the pain and stress of the endless delays and sometimes distress of people changing their minds for no apparent reason.

Let's really simplify this process

Moving a body out of England or Wales – Removal Notice (form 104)

Only the coroner can give permission for a body to be moved out of England or Wales, with the issuing of a a Removal Notice (form 104), and this appears to apply to any funeral which takes place outside these boundaries.

Why is this idea important?

Only the coroner can give permission for a body to be moved out of England or Wales, with the issuing of a a Removal Notice (form 104), and this appears to apply to any funeral which takes place outside these boundaries.

Stop good casues getting sued by using a lower gross negligence standard.

Organisations or actvities that are:

  1. For recreational purposes
  2. Environmentally benefitcial
  3. Conducted by the voluntary sector

Should be held to a lower standard of gross negligence (much more difficult to prove, but well understood and defined by the criminal law already), so they cannot easily get sued. This would encourage more socially beneficial activities and greater freedom, without people worrying about being sued when they're trying to have fun, help others out or help the environment.

Why is this idea important?

Organisations or actvities that are:

  1. For recreational purposes
  2. Environmentally benefitcial
  3. Conducted by the voluntary sector

Should be held to a lower standard of gross negligence (much more difficult to prove, but well understood and defined by the criminal law already), so they cannot easily get sued. This would encourage more socially beneficial activities and greater freedom, without people worrying about being sued when they're trying to have fun, help others out or help the environment.

Cutting the regulation of small businesses

I have spent the last year seeking to create some income to pay for the maintenance etc of the large historic house I live in. In doing so I have been faced with interminable regulation of one kind or another from the local council and the fire service out of all proportion to any perceived risks or effect upon the surrounding community. In this process I have had to:

  • apply for 3 sets of planning permission simply involving change of use, leading to a requirement from the highways department for me to spend thousands of pounds on modifications to my drive for ludicrous reasons.
  • obtain a personal licence (the one you need to run a pub or nightclub) simply to hold a small number of weddings on the premises.
  • obtain a premises licence.
  • be subjected to a fire department audit which required me again to spend thousands of pounds on precautions for a fire risk that is negligable.
  • be inspected by the environmental health services simply because we provide breakfasts to a few B & B guests.

I could go on but suffice it to say that I have been met with a set of officials with the right to interfere with just about everything one does and require expenditure that is out of all relation to the risks involved. One of the byproducts is that we have decided we will not employ anyone under any circumstances. If one does the level of regulation is now laughable – having to send them on courses to climb ladders, lift boxes and other such nonsense. Anybody working here now has to be self employed.

I should add that my career has been in govt and corporate life where I have managed large numbers of people and have a good appreciation of what is really required.

There is a great need to strip out this unnecessary regulation and I eagerly look forward to staffing cuts in the local govt sector which will mean that there simply are not all these people with time on their hands and no appreciation of the realities of running a business.

Why is this idea important?

I have spent the last year seeking to create some income to pay for the maintenance etc of the large historic house I live in. In doing so I have been faced with interminable regulation of one kind or another from the local council and the fire service out of all proportion to any perceived risks or effect upon the surrounding community. In this process I have had to:

  • apply for 3 sets of planning permission simply involving change of use, leading to a requirement from the highways department for me to spend thousands of pounds on modifications to my drive for ludicrous reasons.
  • obtain a personal licence (the one you need to run a pub or nightclub) simply to hold a small number of weddings on the premises.
  • obtain a premises licence.
  • be subjected to a fire department audit which required me again to spend thousands of pounds on precautions for a fire risk that is negligable.
  • be inspected by the environmental health services simply because we provide breakfasts to a few B & B guests.

I could go on but suffice it to say that I have been met with a set of officials with the right to interfere with just about everything one does and require expenditure that is out of all relation to the risks involved. One of the byproducts is that we have decided we will not employ anyone under any circumstances. If one does the level of regulation is now laughable – having to send them on courses to climb ladders, lift boxes and other such nonsense. Anybody working here now has to be self employed.

I should add that my career has been in govt and corporate life where I have managed large numbers of people and have a good appreciation of what is really required.

There is a great need to strip out this unnecessary regulation and I eagerly look forward to staffing cuts in the local govt sector which will mean that there simply are not all these people with time on their hands and no appreciation of the realities of running a business.

Council Tax Relief

Scrap it. Every owner of every home in the country pays, regardless of whether this is a main residence or second home, and regardless of whether it is occupied or empty.

The additional income would be a useful top-up to local council funds, and the effect of making everybody pay would help iron out some of the problems caused by landlords leaving properties empty for year after year, and it would make it less attractive for  the wealthy to destroy communities by snapping up housing and leaving it empty for most of the year. There would also be a small administrative gain – no need to check on the actual status of a home if every home is paying tax with no exceptions.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap it. Every owner of every home in the country pays, regardless of whether this is a main residence or second home, and regardless of whether it is occupied or empty.

The additional income would be a useful top-up to local council funds, and the effect of making everybody pay would help iron out some of the problems caused by landlords leaving properties empty for year after year, and it would make it less attractive for  the wealthy to destroy communities by snapping up housing and leaving it empty for most of the year. There would also be a small administrative gain – no need to check on the actual status of a home if every home is paying tax with no exceptions.