The Housing and Planning Bill is now in the Report Stage in the
House of Lords with the first of five scheduled days for debate
having taken place on Monday 11 and Wednesday 13 April 2016.
As reported in the
last edition of our bulletin, a number of significant
amendments to the Bill were put down by opposition Peers and
cross-benchers. The government was defeated on a number of
significant amendments on the first day of the Report Stage on 11
- The House of Lords voted to give local councils the power to
set the threshold of Starter Homes locally; and
- Passed an amendment to introduce a 20-year discount period for
Starter Home discounts requiring repayment of a proportion of the
discount if sold within that period.
On the second day of the debate on the Report Stage on 13 April,
Peers began debating Part 4 of the Bill, in particular, the
provisions relating to the Right to Buy for housing association
tenants and sale of high-value voids.
- On the sale of high-value homes, Peers agreed to a government
amendment to the wording of the Bill to redefine "high-value"
council housing as "higher value" in the Bill.
This is anticipated to mean that the definition of higher value
stock and the higher value thresholds are likely to be determined
with reference to the local housing market valuations rather than
the thresholds based on regional valuations included in the
Conservative Party Manifesto.
This could be good news for councils in higher value areas in
the south and south-east in that less of their stock may be defined
as "higher value". However, it's almost certainly likely to mean
that most stock retained councils will be caught in some way by the
formula for calculating "higher value" housing and can expect to
have to make some payment to the government under the RTB levy. The
devil will be in the detail and councils are no nearer knowing how
"higher value" will be defined or what they will be required to pay
by way of the RTB levy. However:
- The Minister also confirmed that Regulations setting out the
definition of high-value homes will now be subject to "affirmative
approval", meaning both Houses of Parliament will be able to vote
on them - Peers in any event pushed this to a vote and defeated the
This will at least give members of Parliament and Peers the
opportunity of further scrutiny when the Regulations are brought
The Minister also indicated that the government were likely to
bring forward some amendments on the face of the Bill at Third
Reading to commit to one for one replacements and on this basis,
Peers declined to force a vote on an amendment requiring
replacements of the same tenure in the same local authority area
for each home sold.
ARCH Policy Adviser. Matthew Warburton. has produced a
briefing on the debate in the Lords so far outlining the
amendments made to the Bill and what they mean. The briefing is
the member's area under the Bulletin news section.
The Lords have set aside time on the 18 April and 20 April, and
if needed, 25 April to conclude debate on the Bill at Report
A date of 27 April has been set for the 3rd Reading
of the Bill, following which the Bill will pass back to the
Commons. It remains to be seen whether when the Bill returns to the
Commons, Minister's will accept all, some, or none of the
amendments made to the Bill by the Lords.