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Uncertainty over HVA levy and fixed-term tenancies 06/07/2017

Brexit and the election of a minority Conservative Government leaves a question mark over introduction of the HVA levy and fixed-term tenancies under Part 4 of the Housing and Planning Act.


Although powers to introduce the HVA levy and fixed-term tenancies are contained within the Act, the associated Regulations for both are subject to the "affirmative resolution" process and must be laid before Parliament and be debated by both houses of Parliament prior to approval.


Previous Housing Minister Gavin Barwell made an announcement at the end of last year that stock retained councils would not be expected to make any payments of the HVA levy in the financial year 2017/18. However, it remains unclear if or when the necessary Regulations will be laid before Parliament to require councils to make any payments from April 2018.


The timetable for introduction of fixed-term tenancies for new tenants of social housing also remains unclear. Shortly before the Prime Minister's decision to call a snap General Election, ARCH was advised that the DCLG were expecting to consult on the draft Regulations and Guidance for fixed-term tenancies. It is now uncertain if that consultation will proceed any time soon.


Parliamentary time to debate the necessary Regulations will inevitably be limited due to Brexit. There must be some doubt whether a minority Conservative Government would command the necessary parliamentary majority to approve the Regulations given the significant opposition to the proposals in both the Commons and the Lords when the Housing and Planning Bill was debated. 


DCLG officials have acknowledged that both the HVA levy and fixed-term tenancies require legislation. In the short time since the General Election, Ministers have not yet been able to take a view on these matters in light of the current political context following the election.


We will keep our member advised on the latest developments on these two key policy areas as they emerge.

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