Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Our response to the Housing (Wales) Bill

with 2 comments

Earlier this month we responded to the consultation on the Housing (Wales) Bill.  You can read our full response on the Wales Co-operative Centre’s website.  We broadly welcome the aims of the Bill, particularly the move to increase the duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness and to ensure security of tenure and surety of finance for fully mutual housing associations.   At the Wales Co-operative Centre, our Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion team works to combat homelessness by taking a proactive early intervention approach to mitigate the need for costly crisis intervention, further down the road.   Our Co-operative Housing project is also investigating different approaches that could deliver support and housing solutions that are developed in partnership with the people who require them, giving more democratic control. 

Co-op housing focus group meeting in Ely, Cardiff (courtesy of Richard Vaughan, Cadwyn Housing)

Co-op housing focus group meeting in Ely, Cardiff (courtesy of Richard Vaughan, Cadwyn Housing)

We support the Bill’s proposal to increase the duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness.  Increasing the duty to prevent homelessness from 28 to 56 days before the applicant is likely to become homeless will allow local authorities more time to assist tenants in finding alternative accommodation. Jocelle Lovell, Financial Inclusion project manager said: “Empowering local authorities to start working with tenants at risk of homelessness at an earlier stage is a very welcome move. Over time, we would hope to see more ‘at risk’ tenancies being sustained because of this measure, and subsequently  less demand on already stretched homelessness teams to provide crisis intervention.”

We also welcome the proposed registration and licensing scheme for all private rented sector landlords, letting and management agents.  If this system takes a similar form to the Landlord Accreditation Wales, we would like to see a section on affordability, financial inclusion and illegal money lending. In light of welfare reforms, particularly Universal Credit, the more aware and prepared tenants and landlords are the higher the likelihood of creating more sustainable tenancies.  However, it is not clear how the registration scheme will identify undesirable landlords who operate below standards and who may not be letting to tenants on benefits.

Potential 'garden village' plans for Ely, Cardiff (courtesy of Richard Vaughan, Cadwyn Housing)

Potential ‘garden village’ plans for Ely, Cardiff (courtesy of Richard Vaughan, Cadwyn Housing)

We believe that the Bill will assist the expansion of co-operative housing by improving arrangements for people who wish to join or leave a co-operative. Clause 120 will boost co-operative housing by allowing fully mutual housing co-operatives to grant assured and assured short-hold tenancies, creating more security for tenants.  Clause 121 will enable fully mutual associations to obtain a court order in relation to mortgage default.

We would like to see the developments in this Bill consolidated and strengthened, with the development of the proposed Renting Homes Bill. In particular, we would like to see the proposed new forms of ‘co-operative tenancy’ are consolidated.

David Palmer, Co-operative Housing Project manager, said that “it is hard work making and maintaining a home on your own. The co-operative housing measures in the Bill are welcome and will enable people, and organisations, to work together to provide affordable housing, which will be sustainable and will help to reduce the potential of individuals becoming homeless.”


Written by Mark Smith

February 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

2 Responses

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  1. The picture attached is misleading, I attended the meeting and yes there was a lot of interest but half the people shown walked out mid meeting when they found out they were not even eligible to be on the co op housing project, shame as some that left were really interested in co op housing.


    February 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    • Thanks for your comment.

      There was considerable interest in the scheme at the event. We were delighted with the turnout. The opportunity was initially opened to applicants on the affordable housing waiting list in Ely and Caerau. As you say, in addition, other potential co-operators came to the meeting to find out more about co-operative housing in general. This was very welcome.
      We invite anyone interested in co-operative housing to contact us via the Wales Co-operative Centre and we will refer them to the relevant leads in their areas. However, in this case, the Co-operative Housing Project Manager will email you directly and then we can put you in contact with the Housing Manager at Cadwyn Housing Association. It may be that you could be eligible for future developments in this, or other similar, schemes.
      The fact that there were more people in attendance at this event than the number of co-operative homes available on this scheme proves that there is considerable demand for co-operative housing in Wales.


      February 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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