Housing and Planning Act 2016

The Housing and Planning Act became law on the 12th of May 2016. The new law is likely to bring some changes that may affect our housing tenants.

The Government has not confirmed when the changes will be introduced but we expect it to be towards the start of 2017.

Listed below is a summary of the main changes:

 

End of secure tenancies

The government is ending secure lifetime tenancies for all new tenants and most current tenants moving home. They will be replaced by fixed term tenancies of between 2 and 10 years (it is expected that 5 years will be the standard). This is not a huge change for Selby District Council, who already offer flexible, fixed term, tenancies and existing secure tenants will not be affected unless they move home.

What we currently know:

  • All new tenants will have a fixed term tenancy
  • Fixed term tenancies will be between 2-5 years although it is expected certain vulnerable groups and households with school age children may be offered a longer tenancy
  • Most tenants who transfer properties will not be able to keep their lifetime tenancy (there may be exceptions to this)

 

Selling higher value Council Homes

The government has decided that we have to sell some of our higher value homes in order to fund the discount for housing association tenants who will qualify for the right to buy their homes. We have not yet been told when this will be introduced or any further details other than that the Council will have to make an annual payment to government based on the value of some of our higher value homes that become vacant. We do not know how the government will decide which of our properties are higher value, how much we will be expected to pay government or if there will be any exceptions, such as for rural areas where we have a high demand but very few properties. 

 

Starter Homes

'Starter Homes' are new-build properties available at a 20 per cent discount for first time buyers aged between 23 and 40. We will have to promote the supply of starter homes and ensure that there are a certain number or proportion of Starter Homes built where there are new housing developments.

We currently don’t have any information about how many homes will be built or the qualifying criteria for Starter Homes.

 

Private rented homes

The Government has identified the negative impact rogue landlords can have on the quality, standard and availability of housing in the private rented sector and is now proposing a number of legislative changes to help local authorities tackle rogue landlords.

We are currently awaiting more guidance on specific details but are aware that new powers are likely to include:

  • Banning Orders enabling landlords to be banned from operating and renting out properties.
  • A national database of rogue landlords – this will be centrally controlled but each local authority will be able to  view and update the database
  • Financial penalties – a civil penalty where a landlord breaches specified legislation to a maximum of £30k. Recovered money can be retained by the local authority.
  • Rent Repayment Orders – these are to be extended beyond licencing offences and can be used as an extra financial penalty against landlords
  • Electrical Safety requirements – requirements on landlords in regards to the electrical safety within their properties
  • Data Sharing –processes that will allow local authorities to access landlord details and information held by the Tenancy Deposit Schemes
  • Mandatory HMO Licensing –It is possible that the scope of licensing could be significantly increased but no details are available as yet

There are no exact dates for introduction although it is likely to be towards the end of 2017 before all parts of the Act are enabled.

This page will continue to be updated as and when further information is provided by the government.

 

Further questions?

If you have questions or wish to discuss this further: