UK: What You Need To Know About Notifying The HCA Of Disposals - Effective As Of 6 April 2017

Last Updated: 8 May 2017
Article by Linda Convery
Most Read Contributor in UK, July 2017

As a result of recent legislative changes Private Registered Providers of Social Housing (Registered Providers) are required to notify the social housing regulator, currently the HCA about any disposal of a dwelling (as defined in section 275 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008) that is social housing.

Non-profit providers are in addition required to notify the HCA about any disposal of land other than a dwelling.

The HCA as regulator is allowed to direct how these new provisions should be implemented and it has the power to decide whether statutory notification is required. The HCA has decided that it does not need to be notified of a disposal of any land that is not a dwelling and it only requires notification of the disposal of social housing dwellings in certain circumstances.

The HCA has published a Direction setting out the circumstances in which notification must be given, the manner in which notification must be made and the timing of notification.  This Direction takes effect from the 6 April 2017, and supersedes the 'General Direction 2010 under section 176 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 in respect of notification of disposals of land by non-profit Private Registered Providers' dated 1 April 2010 and given by the Tenant Services Authority. 

The HCA has also issued guidance notes on the operation of the Direction and both the Direction and the Guidance note can be accessed online.

This insight sets out a brief overview of when notification needs to be given, timing of notifications and how notification should be made. The Direction contain fuller details of what is meant by a dwelling, but this covers in the main the social housing that is reported in a Registered Provider's Statistical data return and so includes housing and flats' accommodation, whether it is self-contained or not, which is low cost rental accommodation or low cost home ownership i.e. shared ownership. It also includes dwellings referred to as bed spaces or units, particularly in relation to supported or sheltered housing or care homes (that are social housing).

The HCA does not want to know about disposals of anything else e.g. commercial property, or gardens, bins stores or garages, which is a welcome change from the previous situation where consent was generally required under section 172.

The following categories of transaction (numbered 1-8) must be notified  when they are disposals. There are three broad types. Landlord Disposals, Financial Disposals and Guarantee Disposals.

Whether a disposal must be notified depends whether you are a large Registered Provider (i.e. you own in excess of 1,000 social housing dwellings) or a small provider.

1.OUT OF SECTOR (Whether a dwelling is occupied or not at the time of disposal) – A disposal to someone who is not a Registered Provider OTHER THAN a sale to the Residential Occupier whether that sale is pursuant to a statutory or contractual right or otherwise.

Notification:  Large – yes; Small - yes.

2.WITHIN SECTOR (Only where the dwelling is occupied ) – A disposal to another Registered Provider.

Notification:  Large – yes; Small - yes

3.LAST SOCIAL HOUSING (Occupied and Not Occupied at the point of disposal) – Where, after the disposal, the Registered Provider would no longer be a provider of Social Housing in England (that is, would no longer satisfy section 112(2)(a) of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008).

Notification: Large – yes; Small – yes

4.TO A PROFIT MAKING PRIVATE REGISTERED PROVIDER (Occupied and Not Occupied at point of disposal) – Where the disposal is to a Profit Making Provider.

Notification:  Large – yes; Small – yes

5.MORE THAN 5% OF STOCK (Occupied and Not Occupied) – Where the disposal comprises of 5% or more of the Registered Provider's Social Housing dwellings prior to the disposal.

Notification: Large – No; Small – yes

6.ALL DISPOSALS (AS DEFINED BY s.273 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008) – FINANCE – Standard and Non-Standard Finance .

Notification Large – No; Small – yes

7.ALL DISPOSALS (AS DEFINED BY s.273 Housing and Regeneration Act  2008) – FINANCE – Non-Standard Finance only .

Notification: Large – yes; Small – No

8.GUARANTEES AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS – Where the purpose of the disposal is to provide or support a guarantee or other obligation EXCEPT WHERE the purpose is to obtain Finance or to obtain a grant from a public sector body.  This applies, in this case, to all disposals (as defined by s.273 Housing and Regeneration Act  2008) which means  that if the guarantee or other obligation is not met, the provider could lose its interest in the dwelling.

Notification:  Large – yes; Small - yes

TIMING OF NOTIFICATIONS

The following categories of disposals require notification to the HCA within 3 weeks of completion: 1 (ONLY when dwelling is Occupied at point of disposal); 3; 5 (Small Providers only); 6 (Small Providers only)

All other disposals must be notified to the HCA on a quarterly basis within 3 weeks of the end of the following quarter dates.

  • 1 April – 30 June
  • 1 July – 30 September
  • 1 October – 31 December
  • 1 January – 31 March

Notifications must be made using the NROSH+ system (the HCA's website for  data collection) online). The HCA has developed a standard template to be used.

Where a priority notification has been made it does not have to be made again as part of the quarterly return.

CONTENT OF NOTIFICATIONS: REQUIREMENTS

A notification  must contain the following information:

FOR DISPOSALS WITHIN TRANSACTION CATEGORIES 1-5

  • Identification of the dwelling(s), including the relevant local authority area.
  • Type and/or use of the dwelling immediately before the disposal.
  • The type of disposal.
  • Confirmation of whether the consideration for the disposal was at the Open Market Value of the dwelling(s) at the point of disposal.
  • Confirmation of whether the full consideration for the disposal was received at the date of disposal.

FOR CATEGORY 5 ONLY – The percentage of Social Housing dwellings disposed as a proportion of dwellings owned prior to the disposal.

  • Identification of the person or category of person to whom the disposal was made.

FOR DISPOSALS WITHIN TRANSACTION CATEGORIES 6 AND 7

  • Identification of the dwelling(s).
  • The type of disposal.
  • The value of Finance obtained by disposal of the dwelling(s).

FOR  DISPOSALS WITHIN TRANSACTION CATEGORY 8

  • Identification of the dwelling(s).
  • The type of disposal.
  • Where available the value of guarantee or other obligation provided or value of the interests in the dwelling(s) disposed to support a guarantee or other obligation.
  • Identification of the person to whom the guarantee or other obligation was provided.  

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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