Housing and Planning Bill gets Royal Assent

Posted: 19/5/2016

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The Housing and Planning Bill has now gained Royal Assent and is officially the Housing and Planning Act.

Widely described as the Act that sounds the death bell for social housing, measures include the introduction of starter homes provided on new developments and available to first-time buyers at a 20% discount; the extension of Right to Buy to the social housing sector; and the introduction of a blacklist of ‘rogue’ landlords and letting agents, with powers to ban repeat offenders.

Letting agents will also have to keep client money in accounts separate to business accounts.

The legislation was discussed at the annual housing and health conference of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health ahead of Royal Assent.

Shadow housing minister John Healey described it as a “blinkered, unbalanced Bill” that was only about home ownership.

The conference also featured Rogue Traders presenter Matt Allwright, and Healey said Allwright had done more than many MPs to highlight poor conditions and bad landlords in the private rented sector.

Agents should not sit back: the flow of legislation is set to continue and it is thought that a new Housing Bill will feature in next week’s Queen’s Speech.

It is likely to focus on garden cities, but, as always, there may be some small print.

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