Welcome to our February edition of the affordable housing bulletin. This month sees the publication of the Regulator of Social Housing’s fee charging scheme for Registered Providers. The Government is looking again at reforms in the social housing sector and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities plans to carry out a review on qualifications and professional training to ensure social housing staff are better equipped to support tenants.

There is more this month on Building Safety and the new legislation that is being introduced to abolish ground rents; including a TLT insight on the changes.

Our employment team have put together some top tips for managing employee stress and there is a TLT insight into issues that HR directors should be aware of in the coming months.

If you have any concerns about any of the developments outlined in this update, or if you require any advice on the effect of the developments or on how to respond appropriately, please get in touch. 

Quick links: 

Events & webinars

Integrated retirement communities TLT Podcasts | 13 January 2022

We have recorded a series of short Q&A podcasts where we speak to Integrated Housing Community providers to discuss the support that they need to upscale their facilities and the future tone of the sector. We also look at the issues that they are currently facing and what they expect to see over the next 12 months.

Affordable housing legal lowdown TLT Podcasts | November 2021

Get to grips with some of the most prevalent legal issues in the affordable housing sector with our bitesize audio sessions

Property

Research Briefing - Social Housing Reform in England: What Next? House of Commons Library | 16 February 2022

The Government's social housing white paper is intended to deliver vast changes for social housing residents in England. This briefing outlines the measures mentioned in the white paper and the next steps.

Abolition of residential ground rents: key questions answered TLT Insights | 15 February 2022

We now have the detail developers, investors, lenders and prospective leaseholders have been waiting for. In this insight, we take a deeper look into the provisions of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 and answer some key questions about them.

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill receives Royal Assent Legislation.gov.uk | 8 February 2022

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 when it comes fully into force will limit the ground rent chargeable on most new long residential leases to one peppercorn per year, therefore restricting ground rents to zero. It will also prohibit payment of administration charges in relation to peppercorn rents.

Councils given spending boost to build back better Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 7 February 2022

Councils in England will have access to a share of £54.1 billion in funding for the coming financial year including more than £1 billion of additional money for social care.

20 town and city centres in England transformed through ambitious regeneration projects Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 30 January 2022

Towns and cities across the country will be transformed thanks to a radical new regeneration programme that will breathe fresh life into disadvantaged communities.

Overhaul of Welsh private rented sector TLT Insights | 25 January 2022

The Welsh private rented sector will finally get its long-awaited overhaul when the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is implemented on 15 July 2022, more than six years after it received royal assent.

Reforming the leasehold and commonhold systems in England and Wales TLT Insights | 11 January 2022

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities consultation seeks views on a number of reforms to the leasehold and commonhold system following recommendations in the Law Commission's reports published in July 2020. Leaseholders in mixed-use buildings will be able to take control and ownership of their buildings as a result of the proposed reforms

Planning and environment

Supreme Court grants permission to appeal two Court of Appeal judgments related to planning Supreme Court | December 2021

The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal the Court of Appeal's judgments in Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority [2020] EWCA Civ 144 (UKSC 2020/0211) and DB Symmetry Ltd and another v Swindon Borough Council [2020] EWCA Civ 1331 (UKSC 2020/0202)

Government response to consultation on consequential changes to permitted development rights Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 27 January 2021

This government response sets out the government’s approach to consequential changes to national permitted development rights following the reform of use classes

Office for Environmental Protection consults on draft strategy and enforcement policy Office for Environmental Protection | 25 January 2022

The newly-established Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has today (Tuesday, January 25) launched a consultation on how it will carry out its role to protect and improve the environment by holding government and public authorities to account

Commercial

Government announces ‘Brexit Freedoms’ Bill Prime Minister’s office | 31 January 2022

The Bill will ensure that retained EU law can be more easily amended or repealed, and to end the special status of EU law in the UK legal framework.

Construction

Government publishes construction procurement guidance on improving building safety Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 10 January 2022

This guidance was developed to assist the construction industry in adopting and implementing procurement practices to deliver safe, high-quality buildings

Corporate

 

Consultation on UK implementation of global minimum corporate tax rate and on a domestic minimum tax HM Treasury | 11 January 2022

The UK government has published a consultation seeking views for how a worldwide 15% minimum corporation tax should be domestically applied.

Data, privacy and cyber security

2022 cyber security incentives and regulation review published Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport | 19 January 2022

The government has published a review detailing the progress made in improving cyber resilience from 2016 to now and what action is needed to further enhance cyber resilience in the UK.

Government launches consultation on proposals to improve the cyber resilience of organisations Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport | 19 January 2022

The government is consulting on proposals for new laws to improve the cyber resilience of organisations which are important to the UK economy.

Employment

Government plans to remove mandatory vaccination for workers in care homes and in the health and social care sector  Department of Health and Social Care | 31 January 2022

Regulations making vaccines a condition of deployment for health and social care staff are set to be revoked, subject to public consultation and Parliamentary approval, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced.

HR Horizon tracker Winter 2022 TLT Insights | 21 January 2022

Find out what HR directors will need to prepare for in the coming months and beyond in the Winter 2022 edition of our bi-annual tracker.

Top tips for managing employee stress TLT Insights | 19 January 2022

Jonathan Rennie and regulatory partner Duncan Reed discuss where they see employers going wrong, and how employers can execute their duties responsibly and protect themselves in the event of a claim.

Horseplay at work – is the employer responsible for the fallout? TLT Insights | 17 January 2022

In the case of Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited, the Court of Appeal considered whether an employer was responsible for a serious injury sustained by a third-party contractor, caused by a practical joke of one of its employees.

Vexatious grievances and unfair dismissal TLT Insights | 11 January 2022

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that a dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct relating to the bringing of multiple vexatious grievances, which were not subsequently withdrawn or pursued, was fair.

Energy

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 successful bids named Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 7 February 2022

£179 million has been offered to 69 projects for Wave 1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

EV charge points in buildings: key questions on the new regulations answered TLT Insights | 17 January 2022

The government has laid before Parliament regulations to enact the proposals contained in the Consultation response: EV Charge points in Residential and Non-residential Buildings.

Health and safety

Grenfell Tower site update: summary of community online meetings (December 2021; January 2022) Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities | 9 February 2022

At the community online meetings in December 2021 and January 2022, the DLUHC updated on the future of Grenfell Tower, and tower site maintenance and safety works

Letter from DLUHC to residential property developers on industry negotiations Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 3 February 2022

Letter from Richard Goodman, Director General - Safer and Greener Buildings, to residential property developers on the government approach to agreement on building safety.

Building Safety Bill: Research Briefing House of Lords Library | 28 January 2022

The House of Lords Library has published a research briefing on the Building Safety Bill.

New online service to track remediation of high-risk buildings Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities | 20 January 2022

Under the Leaseholder and Resident Service, those living in tower blocks will have access to updates on the status of their building’s application to the government’s Building Safety Fund

Duty on employer to provide suitable PPE to be extended to workers from 6 April 2022 Health and Safety Executive | 10 January 2022

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/8) will come into force on 6 April 2022. These new regulations extend this duty to cover workers, as well as employees. The HSE have provided a guidance note.

Human rights

New right to rent checks aiming to reduce abuse to the immigration system Home Office | 19 January 2022

The government has announced that, from 6 April, certified identity service providers (IDSPs) will be able to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to conduct right to work checks and right to rent checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens.

Housing Ombudsman Independent Reviewer’s report published Housing Ombudsman | 13 January 2022

The latest report of the Ombudsman’s Independent Reviewer of Service Complaints has been published.

Regulatory

Fees for social housing regulation Regulator of Social Housing 4 February 2022

The principles of the regulator's fee-charging scheme for registered providers and practical guidance about its operation.

Government unveils levelling up plan Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 2 February 2022

Michael Gove to unveil the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper, setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

Tax

Revised HMRC policy on VAT treatment of fees and compensation for early termination of contracts HM Revenue & Customs | 7 February 2022

This brief introduces a revised policy on VAT early termination payments and compensation payments and replaces Revenue and Customs Brief 12 (2020).

Welfare reform

Government to drive up standards in social housing Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 18 January 2022

Social housing residents will be better protected as part of a review to ensure they are listened to, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing confirms.