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

 

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Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill 19/01/2018 Labelled as Legislation

The Government have introduced a Bill in the House of Lords which could pave the way for Regulations to bring in fixed term tenancies under the Housing & Planning Act 2016

 

The Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 19 December 2017 and received its Second Reading in the upper House on 9 January 2018 and is due to be considered at Committee Stage in the Lords on 24 January.

 

This short Bill would amend changes to the law on secure tenancies for social housing tenants introduced under Part 4 of the Housing & Planning Act 2016 (but not implemented as yet).  

 

The Housing & Planning Act 2016 and Schedule 7 of the Act introduced the requirement for local authorities to grant mandatory fixed term tenancies for all new tenancies and the phasing out of life-time secure tenancies and Schedule 7 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, once in force, will require that new secure tenancies may only be offered for a fixed term period lasting between two and ten years, with some exceptions. This Bill will impose a duty on local authorities to grant an "old-style" secure tenancy to victims of domestic abuse.

 

During scrutiny of the Housing and Planning Act in its passage through the House of Lords, concerns were raised that existing secure tenants fleeing domestic violence might lose their life-time tenancy when they were rehoused. The Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill seeks to prevent this by making it a requirement that social housing tenants in England who currently have a life-time tenancy and are fleeing domestic violence be granted a similar life-time tenancy in their new home.

 

Given the strong opposition in the Lords at the time to the passage of Part 4 of the Housing & Planning Act and Schedule 7 of the Act, the introduction of this Bill by the Government underscores the intention of the government to press ahead with the phasing out of life-time secure tenancies and the introduction of mandatory fixed term tenancies.

 

The passage of this Bill, assuming this gets through, will undoubtedly reduce opposition to and pave the way for the introduction of the necessary Regulations under Schedule 7 of the Housing & Planning Act 2016 to introduce mandatory fixed term tenancies. We have spoken to officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government who say that they can't be definitive about timing of the regulations under Schedule 7.

 

We will keep members advised as the Bill progresses.

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