Coronavirus: A ban on evictions and help for rough sleepers

This briefing paper explains measures the Government put in place during the coronavirus outbreak to assist households to retain their homes and enable local authorities to tackle the specific challenges faced by rough sleepers. The paper covers subsequent measures taken in light of the courts starting to consider possession claims again from 23 August and to prevent rough sleepers from returning to the streets. The paper is being updated regularly to take account of new developments. …

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Can private landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?

This briefing paper considers evidence of private landlords’ reluctance to let to prospective tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit. The paper looks at the reasons behind this reluctance and action being taken to challenge landlords/agents who operate a “no DSS” policy. …

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A new era of social rented housing in England?

A key focus of housing policy in recent years has been on the overall supply of housing. There is broad consensus on the need to address the long-term under-supply of housing and various measures have been introduced to stimulate housebuilding. While supporting increases in supply, commentators highlight the need to deliver housing that is genuinely affordable to improve living standards and “loosen the grip of poverty.” This paper considers the case for social rented housing; barriers to its development; and prospects for a step-change in supply. It also provides a statistical picture of trends in social housing supply over time and geographically (including total stock, new supply, and sales and demolitions).…

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Applying as homeless from an assured shorthold tenancy (England)

This paper considers how English local authorities deal with private tenants who have been served with a section 21 notice and are about to become homeless. A common response has been to tell tenants in this position to remain in situ until a court order/bailiff’s warrant is obtained. The paper considers changes introduced by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 with effect from 3 April 2018. …

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Leasehold high-rise flats: who pays for fire safety work?

This paper considers the debate about who is responsible for paying for fire safety works on blocks of flats in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. It covers progress in implementing the Government decision to fund remediation work for affected blocks with ACM cladding in the social and private sectors. In March 2020, a £1 billion Building Safety Fund was announced to fund the removal of unsafe non-ACM cladding on high-rise blocks in the social and private sectors. …

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Stimulating housing supply – Government initiatives (England)

This briefing paper summarises the main 2015 and 2017 Government initiatives aimed at increasing housing supply in England, aside from planning measures. The 2019 Government will continue with, and build on many of these initiatives. March 2020 saw publication of Planning for the Future – this paper set out a series of actions the 2019 Government intends to take to meet its housing supply commitments. …

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Shared ownership (England): the fourth tenure?

This House of Commons Library briefing paper explains how shared ownership housing operates in England. It outlines Government policies to extend shared ownership, including proposals for a new national model for shared ownership and a new right to shared ownership for housing association tenants. The paper also examines the key barriers to extending shared ownership. …

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What is affordable housing?

This briefing paper considers how affordable housing is defined in England and looks at key trends in the affordability of different tenure types. It examines the supply of affordable housing and the role of Housing Benefit in enabling households to access and retain affordable housing. The paper has been updated to include new data on housing affordability. …

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Implementation of the Housing and Planning Act 2016

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA 2016) received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. This briefing paper outlines progress in implementing the Act’s provisions. Several key measures in the Act will not be taken forward, such as ‘pay to stay’ and mandatory fixed-term tenancies for local authority landlords in England. …

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Under-occupying social housing: Housing Benefit entitlement

This Briefing Paper provides information on which claimants are affected by the reduction in Housing Benefit/housing element of Universal Credit when under-occupying a social rented home. The policy is often referred to as ‘the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy’ or the ‘bedroom tax’. The benefit reduction has been in place since 1 April 2013. The paper has been updated to include some of the more recent legal challenges to the under-occupation deduction. …

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