Ministers set out the details of the Housing Bill

29 October 2015

The House will shortly debate the Second Reading of the Housing and Planning Bill. The Bill implements a number of the Government’s key manifesto commitments to enable hardworking people to enjoy the security of home ownership, help those who need a new affordable property, and boost overall housing supply.

The Bill includes measures to get the nation building homes faster, by:
• Requiring local authorities to prepare, maintain and publish local registers of brownfield land.
• Reducing uncertainty in the planning process with a new ‘Permission in Principle’ to be granted automatically when housing is allocated in future local and neighbourhood plans or identified on new brownfield registers.
• Maximising housing delivery in London with further planning powers devolved to the Mayor of London to support strategic development.
• Providing more information on the potential financial benefits of major developments.
• Improving the process for establishing Urban Development Corporations.
• Simplifying the compulsory purchase of land or property.
• Allowing planning applications for non-major development to be submitted to and decided by the Planning Inspectorate where the local planning authority has a track record of very poor performance.
• Including housing in nationally significant infrastructure projects.
• Simplifying and speeding up neighbourhood planning.

The Bill includes measures to help more people buy their own home, by:
• Taking forward measures underpinning the agreement with the National Housing Federation to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, including financial powers to pay the housing associations for the cost of the discount, and powers for the regulator to monitor and report on the delivery of the terms of the agreement.
• Requiring local planning authorities to actively promote the development of Starter Homes (at 80% market value), whilst embedding them in the planning system.

The Bill includes measures to ensure the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the future by:
• Requiring social tenants on higher incomes to pay fair rents.
• Placing a duty on councils to manage their housing stock effectively, consider selling their high value assets when they fall vacant, and require them to make a payment to the Secretary of State based on the value of their vacant high value assets.
• Introducing a number of measures to give local authorities tools to tackle rogue landlords.
• Allowing local authorities access to data relating to nearly 3 million tenancy deposits, estimated to cover over 70 per cent of private rented sector properties.
• Simplifying the assessment of housing and accommodation needs.
• Changing the way the redemption of rentcharges and leasehold extensions is calculated by amending a defunct statutory formula.
• Ensuring the Lead Enforcement Authority for Estate Agents is effective, without a single body named in primary legislation.

To assist the House, we have placed a number of fact sheets in the Library, which give further details on all of these measures. If you have any detailed questions on the Bill before or after Second Reading, we would be happy to answer them. We hope that these fact sheets will assist the House in holding a productive debate, and look forward to discussing the issues with you.

Yours ever,