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Anybody with legal backgroup? Really need some advice please.....

(13 Posts)
WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 07:51:49

Was wondering if you could advise me on my current situation.

There is a small housing association in my town, providing low rent houses. 

It is purely a waiting list game. No priorities, no points, just a waiting list for a house. The only criteria is that you have to be recommended to be put onto the list by a member of the committee (made up of tenants) and you have to of lived in the town and been brought up there.

This association is run as a non profit making limited company.

We were accepted onto the list two years ago. It was confirmed that we were still on the list at the beginning of the year. 

Since then the committee member that recommended us, has fallen out with the rest if the committee. This lady then told us, because of the falling out, we were now off the list. 

I called the secretary today to find out what was going on. This is how the phone call went. 

Me- Hi is that Mrs Blah Blah.  
Mrs- yes
Me- hi it's miss so and so, I think we are on the waiting list for your housing association.
Mrs-there are no houses available.
Me- okay, it's just when walking around I noticed there was a couple of empty ones??
Mrs- well, yes there are. But you have been moved off the list and onto a secondary list.
Me- oh, why is that?
Mrs- because we are only housing second generations of people all ready on the housing plan.
Me- right we haven't been notified of this. 
Mrs- we have not notified anybody. 
Me- we have been waiting 2 years, it would of been nice to know we have moved?
Mrs- it was a recent decision. 
Me- okay, what do you advise I do know ? Is there anyone else I can talk too?
Mrs- nope no body you can talk to. You can stay on the list, but if you get offered somewhere better you should take it.
Me- we went on any other list so we won't be offered anything else. 
Mrs- well you won't be housed before the first list, if ever, we have changed the policy.

Can they do this? She wasn't going to even tell me that we had been moved off the list. Surely when they accepted our application we entered into a contract, can they just change the goal posts so easily? Do I have any rights?

Obviously the policy change thing is just a smoke screen for the fact that they want nothing to do with our recommender, and therefore us. 

We have a "distant neighbour" relationship with the recommender. Stop to say hi, how are the kids? But no more really. 

Would love some advice and insight. 

Thankyou in advance. Really appreciate any input.

TheseThingsAreGoodThings Fri 24-Jun-11 08:44:14

Sorry no advice to offer.

But am really shocked by this. Both because the process is so untransparent and because the whole scheme seems to rely on a "who you know" process.

LisasCat Fri 24-Jun-11 08:47:54

Sounds like the sort of inbred community that you're best off not moving into. No legal advice I'm afraid, but I'd be glad theirs is a club that you can't join. They sound like a bunch of twats.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 24-Jun-11 09:10:35

I'm not up to speed with current housing law but I hope the following will be of help to you.

It's probable that the HA is registered as a company limited by guarantee but, in any event, as a limited company there will be a board of directors that you may be able to appeal to in the hope that some/all of them are not tenants.

However, your first step should be to access the Tenants Services Authority's website to find out whether this particular housing association is registered with them.

Any housing association registered with the TSA must have a written policy stating how it decides who is offered a property, and if you have cause to believe that you have been unfairly treated you can appeal to the TSA.

As I seem to recall that there are/were proposals to abolish the TSA, give me 5 minutes and I'll see if I can provide a link for you.

sunnydelight Fri 24-Jun-11 09:20:00

There is no contract I'm afraid as it doesn't meet the basic criteria of contract formation (offer, acceptance, consideration). I think you need specialist housing law advice - whereabouts do you live? I know it's a long shot but Brighton Housing Trust are excellent if you are in the area, otherwise is there a branch of Shelter near you? If not I would suggest CAB who can refer you to a specialist agency if necessary.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 24-Jun-11 09:26:29

Phew!! The TSA still seems to be going strong!

Click on this link and enter the relevant details (name of HA, area, postcode etc) to see if 'your' housing association is registered:

portal.tenantservicesauthority.org/

If it is registered, and before considering any appeal, please come back here as it could be that I'll have come up with a plan that may not require you having to go down the 'official' path.

Sorry to tell you that I'm otherwise engaged until sometime late this afternoon - I'll try to pay a flying visit around lunchtime but I can't guarantee it.

WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 09:46:09

This is gutting really as DP and I are renting as we cannot buy as no body will lend us any money because our business is only two years old.

We had our hearts set on one of these places as it is v close to great schools, in a v desirable area, and, when we was in the position to buy, we would buy a flat and rent it out (which is allowed).

This secretary will not give me any info, apparently there are only 4 committee members. And can't seem to find any info on the net.

Just seems unfair, as we have done nothing wrong and we are now going to struggle to save to buy, as well as paying £850pm rent, and even if we did buy, it wouldn't be in catchment to such nice schools

WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 09:50:07

Izzy- thankyou so much I really appreciate it. Really.

Will check the link and let you know.

bubblecoral Fri 24-Jun-11 09:58:53

That's a very kind offer izzywhizzy smile

I'm shocked that it's not against the rules to buy a property while occupying low rent housing through a HA. Is it just me that thinks that's wrong?

I would agree with others that this doesn't sound like a club you should want to join. They sound vey sneaky, underhand and like they are operating on a very unfair basis based on everything you have said about them.

Butterbur Fri 24-Jun-11 10:16:40

I'm no lawyer, but don't HAs receive government funding? It seems corrupt to be using this to basically fund subsidised houses for friends and cronies of current tenants in any event.

WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 10:20:09

bubble- I know it does seem odd. But we knew a family and both parents were GPs and they owned at least one other house. They know live in America, but retain their house here incase the kids ever want to move back.

Apparently, given the infomation on the OP, it is not a HA. But a Mutual -something or other. This is what I have been told by a poster in the Legal section on MN. And therefore they can do as they like.

Izzy- thanks for the offer of help, but they are not registered with the TSA. sad

Just feel like we have had a kick in the stomach.

We are going to have a look through some files that our recommender has.
What we are hoping on is that maybe there is an in way because they have not officially changed their policy. I dont know!!

WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 10:25:50

Apparently it is called a Mutual Society. No idea if this is right, somebody has just suggested this.

It is owned by shareholders that nominated a panel of tennants to run it.

Not looking good is it?

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 24-Jun-11 17:20:13

A Mutual Society is what building societies such as the Halifax, Woolwich, Northern Rock etc were before becoming part of the banking system.

Please provide a link here to your post on "the Legal section on MN" so that I can read other responses.

If you pm me with the name of the housing association/mutual society that has, inexplicably and without notice, moved its goal posts I will see if I can find out more about the organisation - any information you send me will, of course, be strictly confidential and not divulged to any other party.

As I am also otherwise engaged this evening I will be unable to get back to you until sometime over the weekend but, in the meantime, remember that it is not over until the fat lady sings - and, as far I can ascertain at the time of writing, she's still in the dressing room.

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