Housing and Planning Act 2016
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Housing and Planning Act 2016

The Housing and Planning Act is now law but most of the changes won’t take place until next year.  This will mean big changes for council tenants, including the possibility of higher rents in some cases.

The main changes will be: 

  • The removal of the right to a lifetime tenancy
  • The introduction of Pay to Stay
  • The removal of some succession rights
  • The sale of higher value council homes
  • New powers to tackle rogue landlords of private rented sector homes
  • The promotion of ‘Starter Homes’ 

The drop down headings on this page give you more information about each of these changes.

We are waiting for more information from the government on how the changes will affect our tenants and when they will start. We will update the website as we receive more information.  

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Click to expandRemoval of the right to a lifetime tenancy

The government has decided that new tenants and most current tenants moving home will no longer have the right to a lifetime tenancy. Instead we will offer a fixed term tenancy of up to 5 years, although some customers may be offered longer tenancies. At the end of the fixed term tenancy we will normally offer a further fixed term tenancy in the same property or assist with rehousing to a different property.

This will not apply to current council tenants who remain in their current tenancy, but may affect tenants who move home.   

We are waiting for more details from the government. At the moment we know that:

-All new tenants will have to have a fixed term tenancy

-Most transferring tenants will have to change to a fixed term tenancy but may be able to keep their lifetime tenancy in some circumstances

-Fixed term tenancies will generally be between 2 and 5 years, although some groups, such as people with long term health needs or a disability, may be offered  10 year fixed term tenancies

-Households with children may be offered tenancies of up to 19 years, depending on the ages of the children

-We can decide if secure tenants who do a mutual exchange can keep their lifetime tenancies

 

We are waiting for more guidance on:

-Which tenants will be able to keep their lifetime tenancy if they transfer

-The full details of who will qualify for a 10 year fixed term tenancy

-When we will have to start offering fixed term tenancies

Click to expandPay to Stay

The Government announced on 21st November 2016 that the introduction of ‘Pay to Stay’ will no longer be implemented.​

Click to expandRemoval of some succession rights

The government has decided that some tenants who succeed to a tenancy will no longer inherit a lifetime tenancy.

 

We are waiting for more details from the government. At the moment we know that:

-Succeeding family members who are the spouse, civil partner or partner of the tenant who has died will still be able to inherit a lifetime tenancy.

-We will have to offer other family members who meet the qualifying criteria a fixed term tenancy.  Generally this will be up to 5 years, although in some circumstances we may be able to offer a longer tenancy

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Click to expandThe sale of higher value council homes

The government has decided that we will have to sell some of our higher value council homes as they become vacant to fund discounts for some housing association tenants who will qualify for the right to buy their properties.

We are waiting for more details from the government. At the moment we know that:

-We will have to make a payment to the government based on the value of some of our high value homes that become vacant

 

We are waiting for more guidance on:

-How the government will work out which of our homes are higher value

-How much we will have to pay the government

 If there will be an exemption for high demand areas where we haven't got many homes 

Click to expandPrivate Rented Sector Homes​

The Government has identified the significant adverse impact that 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:

-Introduction of Banning Orders: this will enable landlords to be banned from operating and renting out properties. Details of what constitutes an “offence” and duration of any ban are yet to be determined

-Provision of a national database of rogue landlords – this will be centrally controlled but each local authority will be able to update the database and identify rogue landlords who may be based in other areas but also operating across authority boundaries

-Rent Repayment Orders – these are to be extended to cover offences other than purely licensing and be used as an extra financial penalty against landlords

-Introduction of Financial penalties – an opportunity for a local authority to consider the imposition of a civil penalty where a landlord breaches specified legislation as opposed to taking a prosecution. This is likely to see a maximum penalty of £30K and the money recovered can be retained by the authority to be re-used in the housing field

-Electrical Safety – likely introduction of increased requirements on landlords in regards to the electrical safety within their properties

-Data Sharing – the introduction of processes that will allow local authorities to access landlord details and information held by the Tenancy Deposit Schemes to help improve intelligence

-Mandatory HMO Licensing – the response to previous consultation on the potential expansion of the role of Mandatory HMO Licensing will be revealed in summer 2016. It is possible that the scope of licensing could be significantly increased but no details are available as yet

The government held initial with councils across the country in order to identify how these powers can be introduced effectively. Further meetings are planned and we will play a key part in this planning process. There is no exact timescale for the introduction of these changes but April 2017 will be the earliest and it may be late 2017 before all parts of the Act are enabled.

Click to expandStarter homes

Starter Homes are homes that are sold at a discount of at least 20% to first time buyers under the age of 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 are waiting for the government to make changes to national planning policy later in 2016.  At the moment we don’t know how many homes will be built, if Starter Homes will replace affordable housing, or the qualifying criteria for buying a Starter Home.


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