Deregulation means the government shrugging off control and therefore responsibility for services to the people – such as housing.
Housing associations provide over half the UK’s social housing. For their CEOs, boards and creditors, the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is a deregulation dream come true. This because the National Housing Federation, our landlords’ trade club, has worked with the government for years to turn most housing associations into huge private businesses.
Here’s how the 2016 Act deregulates them:
** most used to be registered at the Office of National Statistics as public providers of social housing. Now they’re private providers, so their gambling on the money markets doesn’t show up as public debt in the government’s books.
** the government regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency, no longer controls the sale of HA homes, even with us inside them.
** the HCA no longer controls housing association mergers into bigger and bigger property empires and private landlords. Effectively, HA tenants are now private tenants.
** the HCA’s power to appoint housing association staff and to nominate local councillors onto HA boards of directors is now more or less zero.
** the National Housing Federation recommends that rent setting should go to individual housing associations. At present the Valuation Office Agency sets secure tenancies’ rents, and the government also regulates assured tenancies. But what happens if our homes are sold? Many HA rents are already rocketing.
Our regulated rents, tenancies and service charges are not income streams. We are not about to fund our landlords’ property and financial speculation.