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A heavily amended Housing Bill passes back to the Commons

Week in Westminster

Published: 29 April 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The government suffered yet more defeats at the hands of Opposition and cross-bench peers during the Housing and Planning Bill’s final report and third reading stages in the Lords this week.

Peers voted in favour of an amendment that would enable councils to retain enough funds from the sale of higher-value council homes to build replacement housing, and one for the pay to stay high income thresholds to be increased in line with inflation. Other amendments also voted through included requiring developers to contribute and affordable housing payment to councils for sites of 10 homes or less; requiring all new housing from April 2018 to be carbon compliant; and one ensuring better drainage for developments to prevent flooding; This brings the total number of amendments pushed through on a vote to 13.

The Bill, as amended in the Lords, has now been sent back to the Commons and will ping-pong between both Houses until and agreement on the final text is reached. Given that the Queen’s speech is on 18 May, there is just over a week to reach an agreement if the Bill is to receive royal assent before the end of the Parliamentary session.

Meanwhile, the Commons Public Affairs committee has raised “significant and pressing” concerns about the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations, In a report published today, the committee concludes “many key policy details have not be clarified” and highlights continuing uncertainty around funding, replacement housing and abuse of the scheme.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake presented a bill in respect of regulating the private rented sector. The Landlord and Tenant (Reform) Bill would extend tenant’s rights to have first refusal to buy the home they are renting when a private landlord sells up. The Bill also would require all landlords in London to be registered, a crackdown on rogue landlords through a licensing scheme, and enable council to manage private rental properties and offer longer tenancies.

Two think tank reports published this week may be of interest. The first by the Resolution Foundation looks at housing costs as a proportion of income over time. And the second from the Policy Network considers how a co-owned, co-operative model can solve the housing crisis.

And finally in advance of the host of elections taking place on 5 May, a summary of the housing pledges of the main parties in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are all now available on our website.