Housing and Planning Act 2016: this Act has received Royal Assent. The key provisions are:

  • local authorities must consider selling their “higher value” properties (as defined in regulations) as they fall vacant; 
  • councils will be able to retain more of their right-to-buy sales receipts to provide replacement homes if they enter into an agreement with the Government to build at least one new “affordable home” for each property sold outside of London (two for every home sold in London);
  • duty on councils to promote the supply of starter homes;
  • local authorities will have to charge their social housing tenants on higher incomes a fairer level of rent; the policy will be voluntary for housing association tenants;
  • local authority landlords will be able to grant new tenants a fixed term tenancy of at least 2 years, with a maximum term of 10+ years where a child is living in the property, and restrict the rights of family members to succeed to local authority tenancies. Statutory guidance will be issued on which households will qualify for a secure tenancy.

The Act also contains provisions on abandoned premises, planning, compulsory purchase and public land (duty to dispose). 

Most of the Act comes into force on a day or days to be appointed; however, note that Part 2 Chapter 4 (Vacant higher value local authority housing) and some of the planning provisions came into force on 13 May 2016 while a few other provisions come into force on 13 July 2016. 

See also the LGA's briefing. (13 May 2016)