Sent: Thursday, 21 Nov, 2019 At 13:56 Subject: Approach to Housing Associations that propose selling their homes
Thank you for your email regarding the above matter, which was received on 25 October 2019. I am sorry for the delay in coming back to you, and respond to your points in the order they are raised.
The sales protocol with Peabody is the same protocol as for all housing associations (Registered Providers – “RPs”). This has taken some time to develop and exists outside of any formal national, regional or local regulation, though I have discussed this issue with RPs, the GLA and at London events. It has the following sequential elements:
1. Do everything absolutely possible to avoid selling/disposing of any property in the first place
2. If the RP concludes that it has no choice other than to sell, then contact LB Hackney as soon as possible and liaise with us. We will investigate and challenge – i.e. survey reports, pricing, rationale for disposal etc – where necessary.
3. If the RP insists on a disposal then offer the property to LBH or our Hackney Housing Company first.
4 If we don’t want the property then sell it to another RP in Hackney. We will do all we can to help facilitate a sale between RPs.
5. Finally if all is exhausted and the property is sold on the open market, the RP is requested to ensure that any and all receipt is reinvested back into the provision of genuinely affordable social housing in Hackney.
We are moving to formalise this protocol amongst all RPs. It already exists with varying degrees of adherence but we would like it formally agreed with each RP i.e. signed by the relevant RP Chief Executive.
I would add that the matter of sales/disposal is complex. For example Clarion Housing Association, who do adhere to the protocol, have offered Hackney a large terraced property for sale. We are seriously considering a purchase as we have a desperate need for larger (four bedroom plus) size family homes.
To confirm that the recent Peabody sales in Hackney constitute those on Gore Road. They also had another two or so up for sale on the Tower Hamlets side of Victoria Park. Our first issue was that the Council was not informed of the proposed sales – we found out via local residents. We also had a whole range of other concerns specific to these Peabody sales which officers have directly discussed with Brendan Sarsfield, Chief Executive of Peabody. The outcome of these discussions is that Peabody have now thankfully agreed to adhere to the protocol. We are therefore keeping the pressure on Peabody. As a next step we hope they will attend the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Committee where local Councillors can directly examine, in full and open public gaze, their approach and rationale to disposals. We are also in contact with our colleagues in Tower Hamlets so that we align our approach to Peabody and exert more pressure on them.
Morpeth Road Garages
I understand that yourself, local councillors and Council officers actively discussing this issue. Alongside this, as you know we are currently in ongoing dialogue with Peabody in an attempt to see whether social rent units can be provided in the scheme and also the scope for better affordability on the proposed key worker rent levels.
Please note that Peabody were originally developing this scheme as part of a two-site approach i.e. a “portfolio” approach. Morpeth Road is the key worker element (thereby meeting Crown Estate covenant requirements) with social rent provided at their Pembury site; this is something we continue to try to unpick and shape so as to ensure a mix of tenures / rent levels at both sites.
If you would like further details please contact James Goddard, Interim Director Regeneration, directly on email@example.com or 020 8356 7196, or come back to me.
Mayor of Hackney