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Defective Housing

Volume 82: debated on Tuesday 2 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the average length of time he estimates home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have to wait before they are offered reinstatement or repurchase under the terms of the Act;(2) what is the maximum length of time he expects home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act should have to wait before they are offered reinstatement or repurchase under the terms of the Act.

The Act requires that an applicant should he notified as soon as is reasonably practicable whether he is eligible for assistance and then, separately, as to the form of assistance to which he is entitled. How long this takes will depend on the circumstances of each case and cannot be prescribed; but an authority must not delay unreasonably in reaching decisions. Information about the average length of time being taken is not available at present.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have applied for and been awarded a grant for reinstatement under the terms of the Act;

(2) how many home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have applied for and been offered repurchase under the terms of the Act.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many home owners are estimated to qualify for assistance under the terms of the Housing Defects Act.

In 1983 local authorities estimated that in Great Britain some 16,500 prefabricated reinforced concrete dwellings of the types designated by my right hon. Friend had been sold by the public sector and were in private ownership. The number of eligible home owners was therefore estimated to be of this order. More recent information suggests that the total number in private ownership may be somewhat higher.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to adjudicate upon the bids made by those local authorities with responsibilities for large numbers of dwellings of types designated under the Housing Defects Act 1984 for additional housing investment programme allocation.

My Department is considering the bids which have been made by local authorities for additional HIP allocations under the arrangements set out in DOE circular 9/85. Decisions will be made as quickly as possible.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance he is contemplating for those local authorities that have in their housing stock substantial numbers of dwellings of types designated under the Housing Defects Act 1984.

In recognition of the problems faced by authorities with substantial numbers of defective prefabricated reinforced concrete dwellings in their housing stock a new indicator has been included in the generalised needs index, used in the housing investment programme allocation process.The Department will continue to take into account, in annual HIP allocations, the need for expenditure on dwellings of this type. Moreover, the Building Research Establishment has published reports which will help authorites to appraise and deal with these problems.