Named and shamed social landlords should have been warned, Housing Corporation admits

12 Aug 99
The Housing Corporation has apologised to five housing associations for not warning them that they were to be publicly criticised over the size of their rent increases.

13 August 1999

The five – Kensington, Mid-Sussex, Ridgehill, Unity, and Yorkshire Metropolitan – were the first social landlords to be publicly labelled as causing serious concern following investigations by the corporation.

Each had either raised rents by more than the target figure of 1% above the rate of inflation, or had much higher rents than the local average.

Corporation chair Baroness Dean, speaking at the launch of its annual review at the end of last month, said she did not regret encouraging a new policy of openness and transparency. But she added: 'What we should have done is given those organisations 48 hours' notice we were doing it so that they could comment to the press.'

Since the results of the rent investigations were published in March, the five associations have satisfied the corporation they can meet its performance standards on rents and service charges. But some dispute the accuracy of the corporation's figures.

Bill Payne, chief executive at Yorkshire Metropolitan HA, welcomed the corporation's acknowledgement that it had mismanaged the situation by not notifying the associations first.

He added: 'We have major concerns over their competence for analysing the true meaning of rent levels in their database.'

David Shimpe, deputy chief executive of Ridgehill HA in Hertfordshire, claimed details released about his association did not reveal the full picture. 'I don't think naming and shaming does any good,' he said.


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