House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Homes Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Part III - Final Provisions

99. Clause 31 provides the Secretary of State with power to make transitional provisions by statutory instrument. In respect of any such arrangements relating to homelessness and allocation of accommodation in Wales, this power is exercisable by the National Assembly for Wales.

100. Clause 32 sets out the commencement procedures.

101. Clause 33 cites the short title of the Bill and extent to England and Wales only. It also applies the legislation to the Isles of Scilly with a power for the Secretary of State to modify the application by order.


Home Buying and Selling

102. There will be little effect on public expenditure, although the Secretary of State will incur expenditure as a result of making grants under clause 12. Sellers and/or private companies, such as Estate Agents, will meet any additional costs relating to the home buying and selling proposals. Both sellers and buyers, as well as others involved in the process, stand to benefit from efficiency savings and reductions in abortive costs which result from an improved process.

Homelessness and Allocation of social housing

103. The proposals will entail some additional costs to enable local authorities to meet their strengthened homelessness duties. In recognition of this, increased provision of £8 million has been made as part of the Revenue Support Grant settlement.


Home Buying and Selling

104. There will be little effect on public service manpower. The proposed new regulations will be enforced by local authority trading standards officers who will operate a fixed penalty scheme. The Courts will act as a backstop in most serious cases and others where the fixed penalty is contested or not paid. The average cost to individual local authorities is estimated at £5,000 (or about a quarter of one post). The cost of any additional workload for the Courts and Tribunals is likely to be negligible.

Homelessness and Allocation of social housing

105. While the provisions will require local housing authorities to reappraise their approaches to homelessness they are expected to have a largely neutral impact on public service manpower numbers.


Home Buying and Selling

106. A regulatory impact assessment has been carried out and is available from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions at HPRO5, Zone 2/J9, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU.

107. The proposals will put a new burden on those marketing residential property for sale. The main business sectors affected by this requirement would be estate agents, solicitors acting as estate agents and house builders. There would also be consequential effects on mortgage lenders, conveyancers and the surveying profession. The proposal to include a home condition report in the seller's information pack will result in more business for the surveying profession.

Homelessness and Allocation of social housing

108. The proposals have not been the subject of a regulatory impact assessment since they will have no impact on businesses or charities. The proposals are intended to encourage local authorities to work more closely with voluntary organisations that have a focus on homelessness.


Home Buying and Selling

109. The home buying and selling provisions (clauses 1-11 and 13-15) will be brought into force by statutory instrument and are intended to commence in 2003. Clause 12 (power to make grants) will come into force on Royal Assent.

Homelessness and Allocation of social housing

110. The homelessness provisions (clauses 16-23) will be brought into force by statutory instrument and are intended to commence in 2001. The provisions on allocations (clauses 24-27) will similarly be brought into force by statutory instrument and are intended to commence in 2002.

Human Rights Act 1998

111. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has made the following statement:

In my view the provisions of the Homes Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

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Prepared: 13 December 2000