The Housing and Planning Act: What it could mean for you

June 16th, 2016 by Home Group Customer and Homelife Guest Editor, Alan Bays in Features

Guest editor Alan Bays, is a customer in Deckham, Gateshead who attended a Tenant Participatory Advisory Service (TPAS) meeting in April where the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill was under the spotlight before it was passed in May.

The Act aims to:

  • speed up the planning process to enable the delivery of more starter homes and encourage more self/custom build homes
  • extend the voluntary right to buy scheme to Housing Association tenants.

Starter homes:

It also makes a commitment to provide starter homes for first time buyers aged 40 and under, these would be sold at a discount of 20% of the market value. Later regulations will specify the proportion of such homes on any such site.

They are also looking at another area to encourage self-build/custom build. Under this local authorities will be required to keep a register of those wishing to build or commission their home and to grant suitable provision of land for such purposes.

Voluntary Right to Buy

Voluntary Right to buy will be extended to Housing Association tenants on a voluntary basis. No final date has been set for implementation of the scheme, but pilots are being carried out by five Associations.

High Income Social Tenants (HIST – formerly pay to stay)

In it is a ‘HIST’ clause. This requires social landlords to charge market rates to households with an annual income in excess of £31,000 outside London and £40,000 in London. There will be a 15% voluntary taper for Housing Associations.

Alan says: “Housing Associations will have discretion over whether to implement these higher charges (HIST) to their tenants. Although not stated, I think some form of means testing would appear to be necessary to determine just who will be affected by HIST.

“The Act will restrict the right to succeed to a secure tenancy to spouses, civil partners and those living together irrespective of when the tenancy was entered into.

“All told these are far reaching changes which promises to turn the social housing industry inside out. We must wait now to fully assess its implications.”

What does Home Group think of the Planning and Housing Act?

Robert Morritt is our head of public affairs. He says: “The Housing and Planning Act is a landmark piece of law-making which will have a big impact on Home Group customers for years to come.

“We are only part way through the process and there is still more that the government needs to be setting out over the summer months. Whilst we have already begun work on features like the Voluntary Right to Buy so that we can help people get their own home on the very first day that’s possible, there is a lot of detail we still need to work through.