In its guest blogs, NHC Supporter Ward Hadaway offers the legal perspective and some guidance on some of the social housing sector’s most pressing issues. In this edition: a look at what’s in store for the housing sector in 2018.
On entering 2018, we reflect on the main outcomes of 2017 for the housing sector and discuss what we can expect in 2018.
Review of 2017
Looking back at 2017, a number of prominent events stood out for the housing sector:
- The Housing White paper “Fixing our Broken Housing Market” outlined the Government’s plans to reform the housing market and boost the supply of new homes in England.
- The General Election which gave the UK its sixth housing minister, Alok Sharma MP, since 2010 following Gavin Barwell losing his seat.
- The supported housing U-turn in which the Government proposed a new ‘three-pronged’ funding model for sheltered, transitional and long-term supported housing from April 2020.
- The catastrophic event of the Grenfell Tower fire drawing into focus product specification, health and safety and building regulation, management of social housing and the inadequacies of the local authorities in rehousing the victims of the fire.
- The Autumn budget providing, amongst other things, an investment of £44bn into housebuilding over the next 5 years, a target of 300,000 new homes to be built a year until 2020 and a lift on borrowing caps for councils.
- Government plans to abandon capping housing benefit for social housing tenants at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
What is the forecast for 2018?
The following key points are what we expect to look out for during 2018:
The Government is continuing to work on a Social Housing Green Paper. The paper will focus on the safety and quality of social housing, the management of social homes, tenants’ rights and complaints handling procedures. In addition to this, the Green Paper is expected to consider how the sector can contribute to the Government’s economy boosting strategies.
The Government are conducting a nationwide ‘Social Tenant Engagement Questionnaire’ to obtain information on tenant’s views on social housing. The responses will feed into the policy paper and views can be submitted via the following link.
The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) is due to come into force in April of this year. The HRA will place duties on local authorities to try and help prevent homelessness by intervening at the earlier stages and some authorities will be under a duty to refer who may be homeless, or vulnerable to being homeless, to a housing authority. There is £72 million available to help authorities implement the HRA with a further £3 million being provided to bodies to update their data systems in order to monitor how the HRA is affecting homelessness in their district.
Changes to the GDPR
Changes to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into force on 25th May 2018. The main changes regulate more stringently how organisations manage, store and handle ‘personal information’. Day-to-day work for social landlords and housing associations involves dealing with personal information. Organisations must move to compliance by 25th May 2018.
A snapshot of the property market
Over the past 12 months, house prices have risen 2.5%. Savills and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) predict a 1% rise in 2018 whereas Countrywide predict a 2% rise. A 3.1% increase is predicted next year by the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility based on first time buyers benefiting from the changes to SDLT whilst a 1.6% decrease has been forecast by Morgan Stanley. The supply of new build homes to rent has increased and as a result, JLL predict no more than 2% increase in rents for 2018.
With the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations and as always the possibility of unforeseen events (such as Grenfell) that tend to shape the landscape, it is always difficult to predict with any certainty what will happen this year. As ever, horizon scanning, preparation, and risk management will be crucial to deal with whatever 2018 presents.
If you have any questions on the above and how it will affect social housing providers, or any other questions as a social housing provider, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of our expert Social Housing Team.
Joint seminar with the Northern Housing Consortium
We are hosting a seminar with the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) covering Safeguarding in the Housing Sector on Wednesday, 28th March 2018 in Leeds. For further information and to book your place, please follow the link. Ward Hadaway frequently holds seminars with the NHC on a wide variety of issues concerning the housing sector. It is always worth keeping an eye on the NHC’s events listings or signing up to its weekly events update.
We work with Registered Providers across the country day-in, day-out so we know what kind of issues you face and the pressures under which you work. Our Social Housing Team brings together substantial experience and expertise to provide a full service tailored to meet your needs.
For further information, please contact Howard Walker, PR Manager at Ward Hadaway, on 0191 204 4446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.