Housing and Planning Act 2016

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 is now in force although we are still waiting for regulations explaining how some of the provisions will work. This may make interesting reading, after all as they say, the devil is in the detail!

The Act covers quite a wide range of housing issues, including the plight of the first time buyer, the tenant facing a ‘rogue’ landlord and the increase in council rent for the well paid local authority tenant.

How will it affect us?

Well, if you are a first time buyer over the age of 23 and under the age of 40 you could stand to get at least a 20% discount on a new property. The details will follow, but basically it seems that when a builder wants planning permission to build a number of houses they will have to provide for a number of ‘starter homes’ (under the price of £250,000 outside Greater London and £450,000 inside). These will then be sold to first time buyers at a discount of at least 20%. The owner of a starter home will then be able to sell their home (at the discounted price to another first time buyer) or after a period of between 5 and 8 years on the open market. Otherwise that will have to pay back their discount.

If you are a tenant and have been dealing with a rogue landlord (“a landlord who knowingly flouts their obligations by renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation to tenants, many of who may be vulnerable.”) there is light at the end of the tunnel. Again the detail and start times are to follow but if the landlord or property agent has committed a banning offence (still to be properly defined) he or she may be liable to a banning order. A banning order prevents the landlord or agent letting houses in England, or getting involved with letting agency or property management work. The order will last for at least a year and breaching the order could result in imprisonment or a fine of £30,000. In any event those banned will go on a register kept by the Authorities which may have information about the properties owned.

The local Authority will not only be able to compile a database of rogue landlords but will also be able to compile a database of tenants from the tenants deposit schemes (subject of course to regulations.)

Some Local Authority tenants may also be in for a bit of a shock. If they earn over a certain amount they may fall in to the Pay to Stay bracket and end up paying a market rent for their council property. Again the devil is in the detail.

We wait to see the regulations for the detail but some interesting changes are on their way.