The Government is proposing to include under it’s scheme a further 1.3 million housing association tenants, the funding of which will be from local councils selling high-value properties.
The details of the proposal to extend the scheme and how it will work remain unclear and the Government is in discussion with landlords to try and shape the policy.
One social housing group, who the Government has been in talks with said it was cautious about the level of any ‘political will’ in the introduction of the policy which will determine the Government’s would be key in deciding how to soften the impact on the social housing providers once implemented.
Landlords would prefer to an extension of the Right to Acquire policy, which would not require primary legislation and mean property acquired or built by housing association landlords before March 31st 1997 would be excluded from any proposal.
Catherine Hand, a partner of Trowers & Hamlins solicitors believes the Queen’s Speech briefing document suggests extending the Right to Acquire due it containing reference to specific regulations relating to the Right to Acquire, and indicated extending discount on properties tenants/owner purchase rather than introducing new ones.
Housing associations want to also seek subsidy and compensation for replacing it’s housing stock and also that without any delay between selling it’s stock and obtaining a adequate compensation.
Some landlords would like to see a ‘cost floor’ value under which homes would not be sold, and one large social housing provider and landlord Placeshapers Group who representing over a 100 housing associations may seek legal advice concerning challenging the proposals. Also housing associations in rural communities are looking to be except from any new extension on the right to buy scheme due to the planning permission under the ‘rural exception’ rules that require affordable homes
Rural housing associations are calling for exemptions from the policy, arguing that development opportunities are less common in rural areas and that homes subject to the Right to Buy would be less likely to receive planning permission under ‘rural exception’ rules, which require continuous affordable housing.
OTHER HOUSING-RELATED POLICIES RISING FROM THE QUEENS SPEECH:
- An increase in the discount for young first-time buyers arising from the Starter Homes Scheme
- The maximum income for non-entitlement to Housing Benefit Scheme reduced to £23,000.
- The freezing from 2017 of working age benefits; tax credits and child benefit for two years .
- An extension of the Troubled Families programme
- A requirement for local councils assisting self-builders to identify plots of land
- A brownfield land register, in order to acquire further land development.
- Simplify neighbourhood planning,
- Hand powers over welfare to Scotland through the Scotland Bill
- Give greater local control over housing to cities with elected metro mayors
- New visa levy on businesses that use foreign labour
- a rolling programme that would force landlords to check tenants’ migration status and make it easier to evict illegal migrants
- Create a new Youth Allowance for 18 to 21-year-olds with stronger work-related conditionality
- The restriction on housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.