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ARCH annual report

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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Housing and Planning Bill published 16/10/2015

The Housing and Planning Bill was published on Monday 13 October 2015. There was no Ministerial Statement accompanying the Bill, which in terms of Social Housing contains no surprises.

 

Read the Housing and Planning Bill.

 

Part 4 of the Bill sets out the government's proposals for Social Housing including:

 

Implementation of the Right to Buy (RTB) for housing association tenants on a voluntary basis:


  • giving power to the Secretary of State to make grants to private registered providers in respect of RTB discounts
  • requiring The HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) to monitor compliance if requested by the Secretary of State
  • amendments to the disposal consents to allow registered providers to dispose of dwellings under the RTB.

 

Sale of high value council housing:

 

  • local housing authorities in England that keep a Housing Revenue Account will be under a duty and must consider selling its interest in any high value housing that becomes vacant (section 69)
  • giving power to the Secretary of State (under section 62) to require a local housing authority to make a payment to the Secretary of State in respect of a financial year based on an estimate of:
    • the market value of the authority's interest in any high value housing held in the housing revenue account that is likely to become vacant during the year, less
    • any costs or other deductions that may be determined by the Secretary of State
  • the definition of high value housing is not set out in the Bill however the Secretary of State must, by regulations, define "high value" for the purposes of the Bill.
  • councils who may be thinking of disposing of their stock to a private registered provider may be treated as still having that housing and therefore still liable to make payment to the Secretary of State (section 63(3))
  • the provisions of the Bill suggest the Secretary of State may simply set a tariff or levy based on the expected number of high value voids rather than compel the sale of individual dwellings. This suggests that providing local authorities have considered their general duty to sell, they may choose to retain certain "high value" stock providing they make the payment as determined under section 62 of the Bill.

 

Reducing Regulation on housing associations:

 

  • it gives the Secretary of State powers by regulation to reduce regulatory control over private registered providers.

 

High income social tenants:

 

  • the Bill gives the Secretary of State the power by regulations to make provision about the level of rent that a registered provider of social housing must charge a high income tenant of social housing in England
  • this gives the powers to introduce a mandatory 'pay to stay' scheme and gives the Secretary of State powers by regulation to:
    • require the rent to be a market rent, a proportion of the market rent or be determined by reference to other factors; and
    • provide for rent to be different for people with different incomes or for social housing in different areas
  • it will give registered providers power to require a tenant to provide information and evidence as to their income
  • it also confirms the power of HMRC to disclose information to registered providers for this purpose
  • it requires payment by a local housing authority (but not a private registered provider) of any increased rental income to the Secretary of State.

 

ARCH will be producing a more comprehensive briefing on the Bill and its wider provisions which also includes legislation on:

 

  • Starter Homes
  • Self-build and custom housebuilding
  • Rogue landlords and letting agents in England
  • Recovering abandoned premises in England
  • Planning reforms in England
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders.

 

Read the Housing and Planning Bill.

 

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