HC Deb 21 December 1989 vol 164 c426W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to prevent private companies setting up as social landlords, obtaining a council dowry and then defaulting on their responsibilities.

Mr. Chope

Under the Housing Act 1988, tenants' choice landlords are required to meet stringent criteria if they are to be approved by the Housing Corporation to seek to acquire property under tenants' choice.

Only responsible applicants with a long-term commitment to the provision of rented housing for those who need it will be approved. All applicants will also have to give a series of binding undertakings in a deed under seal to the corporation, regarding the way they operate.

A negative valuation or "dowry" may arise where repairs are necessary to bring transferring property up to the standard required by the public sector landlord's repairing obligations. Disputed valuations are set on statutory principles by the district valuer.

After a valuation is set, an approval landlord wishing to acquire property under tenants' choice is required to make a detailed offer to the tenants on a range of matters including repairs. If the tenants vote to accept the offer and transfer proceeds the offer is contractually binding on the landlord.