We hosted a breakfast roundtable with Insider Midlands magazine that had attendees from a range of organisations addressing housing needs in the Midlands. The discussion explored JVs in more detail.
The provisions caused great controversy in the last stages of debating the Bill before it was enacted, and particular provisions have now been included in relation to the potential for local authorities to offset the requirement to make payments to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) where agreement is reached that they will provide further social housing.
Duty to Consider Selling
The Act imposes a duty on local authorities (with housing that falls within a Housing Revenue Account) to consider selling their interest in any “higher value” housing that becomes vacant.
“Higher value” is still not defined within the Act and clarification on what will be considered to be higher value housing is to be included in regulations issued by the SoS.
Housing that “becomes vacant” is defined in a common-sense way (where a tenancy comes to an end and is not renewed) but there is the potential for the SoS to make regulations specifying circumstances that do not count as having “become vacant”.
The SoS can exclude housing from this duty under regulations, and may also provide statutory guidance for local housing authorities to follow. In reality, it is the subsequent statutory guidance that will determine how much discretion local housing authorities have over the decision to sell.
Payments to the Secretary of State
The Act enables the SoS (through regulations) to require local housing authorities to pay to the SoS an estimate of the market value of any higher-value housing that is likely to become vacant during the year (less costs and deductions stipulated by the SoS in regulations). Note that the SoS can treat the local housing authority as still having housing that it disposes under sections 32 or 43 of the Housing Act 1985 to a registered provider, or treat the housing as being likely to become vacant if it would have become vacant but for the local housing authority disposing of it to a registered provider – meaning that local housing authorities cannot avoid this provision by pursuing a stock transfer and that in seeking consent to transfer, this issue will need to be addressed. Payments may be reduced by agreement between the SoS and the local housing authority, with the intention that the local housing authority uses the amount by which the payment is reduced for the provision of housing. In Greater London, the local housing authority must ensure that this provides at least two new affordable homes for each old dwelling.
The devil is in the detail…
The key factors in relation to how these requirements will operate will be contained in regulations to be made by the SoS, which must be consulted on widely (and individual local housing authorities will need to be consulted with if specific determinations are to be made in relation to them). However, as funding for the VRTB is to be derived (at least in part) from these payments, it is expected that details should follow shortly.
For more information
Please contact Gayle Monk
The decision of the Court of Appeal in The Harpur Trust v Brazel & Unison has made clear that employers can no longer legally calculate part-time holiday based on 12.07% of hours worked over a year.
Social landlords are seeing a rising number of Equality Act defences to possession proceedings. A recent Court of Appeal decision helps shift the likelihood of such defences succeeding.
On 31 July, the consultation period ended on MHCLG’s proposals for reforming the building safety regulatory system set out in the 'Building a Safer Future' document. We have submitted our response.
For decades now, fewer and fewer services provided by local authorities have been delivered directly by them. However, over the last couple of years, there are signs that this tide is changing.
The Government commissioned an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in July 2018. The outcome was published in May 2019 which highlighted areas for improvement.
In 2017, the NCVO commissioned a review of the tax reliefs available to charities. The brainchild of this review was published on 17 July 2019 in the form of the Charity Tax Commission report.
In 2014, the Charity Commission released its first guidance for charities on reporting serious incidents. The Commission has recently updated this guidance.
In the third part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by instructing changes under construction contracts.
Our spotlight piece considers the role of a Senior Independent Director and sector best practice. We also explore recent developments in case law, regulatory and data protection updates, and more.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.