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Government wants greater ‘transparency’ on council home values

The government has outlined plans to allow – for the first time – the public in England to see the value of council housing stock assets, in an effort to increase ‘transparency’.

Proposals put forward in a consultation by the DCLG, would require councils to publish the most recent and subsequent valuations of their social housing stock every year.

Currently councils required to carry out a full revaluation of their stock every five years.  But individual local authorities have the discretion to do this as part of a rolling programme, carrying out revaluations of different parts of the stock annually.

However, under the new measure, the DCLG is consulting on introducing a requirement for councils to publish their stock valuations. This requirement could be introduced as a revision to the Local Government Transparency Code 20141 or through the introduction of a separate Code issued under section 2 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.

Either way the government is proposing this should be a mandatory requirement. Housing minister Kris Hopkins said: “I want people to have confidence that their councils are managing the valuable resource of social housing properly, and ensuring the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities are being met.

“Councils are already required to make public how they allocate their council homes, and since 2010 have received £19m to combat social tenancy fraud. Under these plans people would be able to see the value and numbers of properties councils hold and challenge councils to use this stock in the best possible way for the local community.”

The consultation – Transparency in Social Housing Assets Value – also calls for evidence on what local authorities are already doing to use their public assets to deliver more homes.

According to the DCLG, this would give residents greater powers to question their council over effective management of the housing they own - and whether higher value, vacant properties could be used to fund the building of new homes for local people.

Running until 8 August, the consultation is open to all to comment on and the DCLG has stated it is willing to engage with local authority landlords and other interested parties during the consultation process.

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