Housing and Planning Bill

Explanatory Notes


Overview of the Bill

1 The Bill is intended to support the delivery of the Government's commitments as put forward in the Conservative Party manifesto and the productivity plan Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation. Through this Bill, the Government aims to take forward proposals to build more homes that people can afford, give more people the chance to own their own home, and ensure the way housing is managed is improved.

2 This Bill seeks to achieve this, in part, by implementing reforms that will make sure that the planning system does not add any unnecessary obstacles to the delivery of new homes.

3 This Bill is made up of eight parts. A summary of these parts and their contents is provided below.

Part 1: New Homes in England

o Starter Homes – providing a statutory framework for the delivery of starter homes

o Self-build and custom housebuilding –requiring local authorities to meet demand for custom-built and self-built homes by granting permissions for suitable sites

Part 2: Rogue landlords and letting agents in England

o Private rented sector – providing greater powers for local authorities to identify and tackle rogue landlords

Part 3: Recovering abandoned premises in England

o Private rented sector – reforming abandonment to more effectively recycle rented property

Part 4: Social housing in England

o Right to acquire – extending Right to Buy discount levels to housing association tenants

o Vacant high value local authority housing – requiring local authorities to manage their housing assets more efficiently, with the most expensive vacant properties sold and replaced with new affordable housing in the area

o Reducing regulation – allows the Secretary of State to reduce regulations on Housing Associations

o High income social tenants – requiring tenants in social housing on higher incomes (over £40,000 in London and over £30,000 outside London) to pay market rate, or near market rate, rents

Part 5: Housing, estate agents and rentcharges: other changes

o Housing needs in England – simplifying the legislation governing the assessment of housing and accommodation needs of the community, whilst ensuring that the needs of all members of the community are assessed on an equal basis

o Regulation and enforcement – a more stringent ‘fit and proper’ person test for landlords letting out licensed properties, such as Houses in Multiple Occupation, to help ensure that they have the appropriate skills to manage such properties and do not pose a risk to the health and safety of their tenants; allowing financial penalties to be imposed as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences; requiring Tenancy Deposit Scheme data to be shared with local authorities; and amending the Estate Agents Act 1977 to allow the Secretary of State to appoint the regulating authority

o Enfranchisement and extension of long leaseholds –makes provision for the valuation of minor intermediate leasehold interests in leasehold enfranchisement and lease extension cases to continue to be possible when using the legislation

o Rentcharges – allowing the formula for calculating the amount needed to redeem a rentcharge to be amended by secondary legislation

Part 6: Planning in England

o Neighbourhood planning – simplifying and speeding up the neighbourhood planning process to support communities that seek to meet local housing and other development needs through neighbourhood planning

o Local planning – giving the Secretary of State further powers to intervene if Local Plans are not effectively delivered

o Planning in Greater London – devolving further powers to the Mayor of London

o Local registers of land and permission in principle – creating a duty for local authorities to hold a register of various types of land, with the intention of creating a register of brownfield land to facilitate unlocking land to build new homes; and giving housing sites identified in the brownfield register, local and neighbourhood plans planning permission in principle, and providing an opportunity for applicants to obtain permission in principle for small scale housing sites

o Planning permission etc – levelling up the power which enables conditions to be attached to development orders for physical works so that they are consistent with those for change of use; extending the planning performance regime to apply to smaller applications; and putting the economic benefits of proposals for development before local authority planning committees

o Nationally significant infrastructure projects – allowing developers who wish to include housing within major infrastructure projects to apply for consent under the nationally significant infrastructure planning regime

o Urban development corporations – creating a faster and more efficient process for creating Urban Development Areas and Corporations whilst ensuring that those with an interest locally are properly consulted at an early stage

Part 7: Compulsory purchase etc

o improving the compulsory purchase regime, so it is clearer, fairer and faster

Part 8: General

Prepared 13th October 2015