Tag Archives: Housing

Crackdown On Private Landlords Renting Overcrowded And Dangerous Homes

Measures to improve overcrowded and dangerous living conditions of private tenants in shared homes laid before Parliament

Terraced Houses

Terraced Houses

Measures to improve overcrowded and dangerous living conditions of private tenants in shared homes were laid before Parliament today (15 March 2018) by Housing Minister Heather Wheeler.

Councils are being given tough new powers to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who rent out overcrowded properties and impose fines of up to £30,000 for those landlords who do not comply.

From October councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licenced multiple occupancy home. Councils will be able to use national minimum standards or apply even tougher requirements in order to address specific local needs.

This move will help ensure tenants have the space they need and deserve as well as reduce health and safety risks they face by sharing cooking and washing facilities with too many people.

The new standards will apply to all landlords seeking new licences. Landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence when it expires.

In a move to stop rubbish piling up outside some shared rented homes, often presenting health risks and blighting neighbourhoods, landlords will also be required to provide adequate waste storage facilities in line with their local authority’s rules. If they fail to do so they could face a fine.

These latest measures build on wider government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector by tackling bad landlords. This includes the launch of a new database of rogue landlords and introduction of banning orders for the worst offenders coming into force next month.

Minister Heather Wheeler said:

Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.

Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine. It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.

Last month new legislation was introduced requiring more landlords to obtain a licence from their council. Landlords of 1 and 2-storey multiple occupancy properties will be brought within scope of mandatory licensing requirements across England, affecting roughly 160,000 additional properties.

Housing Minister Announces Homes Boost For Rural Families

Rural communities will be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes

Dominic Raab MP

Dominic Raab MP

Rural communities will be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes to better meet local housing needs through planning rule changes, announced Housing Minister Dominic Raab.

Changes to permitted development rights will mean up to 5 new homes can be created from existing agricultural buildings on a farm rather than the maximum of 3 currently permitted.

Currently several hundred new homes each year are created through conversions of agricultural buildings, and these changes are expected to boost these numbers further.

The changes will help communities make the best use of existing buildings to help meet local housing needs more efficiently, while at the same time ensuring they remain in keeping with the character of the area and safeguard people’s privacy.

Government is also giving applicants an extra year to convert further storage and distribution buildings into new homes that will help relieve local housing pressures.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab said:

We need to be more creative if we are to meet the housing needs of rural communities.

That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much needed homes for families.

This is part of our comprehensive reform programme to build the homes Britain needs.

The new measures will also help farmers adopt the latest innovations in modern farming practices by increasing the size limit of new agricultural buildings on larger farms from 465 square metres to 1,000 square metres.

Litter Innovation Fund: Government Backs New Community Projects

The first tranche of funding has been awarded to innovative litter-fighting projects across Britain

Litter Innovation Fund

Litter Innovation Fund

A range of innovative projects to tackle litter louts in local communities have been awarded funding by the government, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced today (9 March 2018).

The first round of funding sees a number of councils, charities, businesses, and public projects awarded almost £125,000 to take innovative steps to tackle littering in their communities.

The successful projects include developing bins to prevent seagulls from scattering litter on beaches and working with river users to reduce plastic getting into rivers, helping to tackle the issue of litter getting into our marine environment.

The funding builds on the Government’s wider Litter Strategy for England, as well as the recent launch of the 25 Year Environment Plan setting out how Government will protect and enhance our natural environment.

Welcoming the new projects, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it and these innovative new projects will help reduce the amount of litter which so often plagues our streets, parks, countryside, rivers and marine environment.

We have all seen the damaging effects that litter can have on wildlife and the environment, and I encourage people to do their bit, take responsibility for their litter and recycle more.

Communities Minister Rishi Sunak said:

The Litter Innovation Fund is part of our wider strategy to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering while leaving a cleaner, greener and tidier environment for the next generation.

I am looking forward to seeing these projects supporting that strategy while helping communities make a real difference in their area.

Government has recently announced a range of new measures to tackle waste including proposals to extend the 5p plastic bag charge to small retailers and introducing a ban on plastic microbeads.

Keeping the country’s streets clean cost local Government almost £700 million last year. Much of this is avoidable litter, and money that could be better spent in the community. Despite this, a worrying 1 in 5 people admit to dropping litter.

A second round of applications will be launched shortly.

Regulator Publishes A Response To The Value For Money Consultation

Placing value for money transparency at the heart of the business

HCA Sign

HCA Sign

Following a statutory consultation by the Regulator of Social Housing a new Value for Money Standard and a supporting Code of Practice, which will apply to all private registered providers of social housing, will come into effect on 1 April 2018.

Alongside the new Standard and Code the regulator is publishing value for money metrics that providers will be expected to report against. To meet its statutory objective to be proportionate and minimise interference, the metrics are based on information collected through the providers’ existing Annual Accounts regulatory return and drawn from the pilot undertaken by the Sector Scorecard Working Group.

Generally respondents welcomed the move away from a narrative approach of VfM reporting to more focused reporting, and understood and supported the metrics approach that RSH had proposed.

From 1 April 2018 private registered providers will no longer need to produce a VfM self-assessment and should meet the reporting requirements of the new Standard. While the value for money metrics which are applicable to all, are financially focused, providers will be able to also set performance targets themselves to reflect social outcomes, appropriate to their objectives.

The Standard requires providers to publish performance evidence in their annual accounts against their own metrics and those defined by the regulator, and report how that performance compares to peers. Providers will be free to report outside of the accounts in a way they see fit if they consider this increases transparency with stakeholders.

Simon Dow, Interim Chair of the Regulation Committee said:

Thank you to everyone who contributed their views to our Value for Money (VfM) consultation and the separate Technical Note on metrics. Overall, the responses have been very positive and the strengthened Standard now sets out a clear expectation that VfM should be a key strategic consideration for boards.

The new approach will assist with scrutiny and consistency over the information reported, enable a greater focus on outcomes, and help continue to drive improvements in value for money in the sector. As is already our practice, we will seek assurance through In Depth Assessments that registered providers are putting the Standard in practice.

decision statement, outlining the analysis of consultation responses received, has been published on the Gov.uk website. It includes the final version of the VfM Standard and Code of Practice.

The VfM Metrics Technical Note is also published on a separate page of the website.

Shelter Responds To PM Speech On Housing

Shelter UK

Shelter UK

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “We welcome today’s speech for recognising the scale of our housing emergency and the fact our current housebuilding system is clearly not fit for purpose.

“The Prime Minister has shown the government is willing to take on developers and challenge them over unfair practices that deny communities the affordable homes they need.

“We’ve been campaigning long and hard on viability assessments – a tool exploited by developers to wriggle out of building their fair share of affordable homes, so we’re pleased the government has listened and has taken steps to close the loophole.

“The government has recognised that big developers alone can’t solve this crisis and so we now need to see a more diverse sector by supporting housing associations and local authorities to build.

“For councils to move beyond just approving planning permissions and actually start building themselves, they must be allowed to borrow more money and be given ‘use it or lose it’ powers to get hold of land.

“Only by embracing a wider range of housebuilders and holding big developers to account can we provide the genuinely affordable homes we need to ease the housing crisis that’s gripping our country.”


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