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Good practice guide to estate regeneration - consultation

Last updated: 9 Mar 2017

Consulting body:
GLA and Mayor of London
Period of consultation:
Runs from 13 December 2016 to 14 March 2017
CML action:
Response submitted

Estate regeneration often involves disruption and change to communities, sometimes over several years, and in some cases it has resulted in conflict between residents and local authorities or housing associations.

This is despite the many benefits that estate regeneration can bring, including better quality homes and neighbourhoods, and an important contribution to London’s need for new and affordable homes.

The Mayor believes that for estate regeneration to be a success, there must be resident support for proposals, based on full and transparent consultation. These proposals should offer full rights to return for displaced tenants and a fair deal for leaseholders, and demolition should only be followed where it does not result in a loss of social housing, or where all other options have been exhausted.

To encourage these principles to be followed across London, the Mayor is committed to publishing a ‘Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration’.

It will be aimed at local authorities and housing associations, covering three key issues:

  1. Aims and objectives of estate regeneration;
  2. Consultation and engagement with residents
  3. A fair deal for tenants and leaseholders.

Once adopted, the Guide is intended to reassure Londoners that they will be given real opportunities to shape estate regeneration, that engagement and consultation will be meaningful, and that offers of rehousing and compensation will meet guaranteed standards.

CML response

Overall, the guide appears sensible and we feel it should be capable of providing a useful and constructive reference resource of good practice principles for housing associations and local authorities, tenants and long-leaseholders.

Our general comments relate to long leasehold, and the increasingly reported instances of “leasehold abuse” in which some freeholding developers might levy seemingly disproportionately high escalating ground rent and service charges, to maximise income generation at the expense of their leaseholders.

Concerns about the need for leasehold reform, including practices such as this, are increasingly under scrutiny by Parliamentarians including those of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold Reform. Separately, The Law Commission is considering aspects of leasehold law as part of its 13th Programme of Law Reform to which the CML responded.

To counter and discourage instances of potential leasehold abuse in regenerated estates, we suggest consideration be given to addressing this by including points in the guide to encourage freeholders to ensure that the ground rent and services charges they set are, as far as possible, affordable and sustainable for long-leaseholders returning to a regenerated estate.

Read the full CML response below.