Summary of the Housing White Paper

Published on Tue, 7th Feb 2017 22:00


The Government have today (7/2/17) released

their long awaited Housing White Paper

The SLA are to mount a series of meetings to present this White Paper, and give time for discussion to allow us formulate our response.  Note that we are planning new venues to enable to discuss this:-
  • Woking - March 22nd, also to discuss the new licensing scheme being proposed;
  • Worthing - April 25th;
  • Tunbridge Wells - May 10th;
  • central London - June 21st (provisional);
  • Ashford - October 3rd.
The full list of our meetings can be found  here.  These meetings range from discussing Inheritance Tax planning; to methods of renting.

The Housing White Paper is 103 pages long and can be found here, and in summary is:-

It again re-states the Governments intention to build more affordable housing; the difference this time is that they say they are going to force Local Authorities to build them, but haven't quite explained all this land is going to come from.

The first part takes us through the fact that most people are now renting than before, and that house prices are well beyond the scope of most young people.  Somewhat stating the obvious!

There is an interesting figure (3) on page 12 that shows that average house prices are now 10 to 14 times of the average earnings in the South East, and concludes that pace of development is too slow, so they have a three point plan:-
  1. plan for the right homes in the right places;
  2. need to build homes faster;
  3. diversify the housing market.
They also propose to extend building on Green Belt.

Additionally the Chancellor is to announce a new lifetime ISA to support young adults to save for an appropriate deposit to buy.

It then goes on to talk about rental, stating they intend to:-
  1. make renting fairer for tenants (whatever that means);
  2. cracking down on empty properties - this has been the aim since the 2004 Housing Act;
stating, or rather re-stating previous facts:-
  • according to the English Housing Survey (2014/15) rental properties are more likely to be sub-standard than owner occupier properties;
  • to make tenants fees more transparent, and to ban agents fees (although missing the point that these fees will probably be charged to the landlords who will add to the rent);
  • bring forward banning orders introduced in the 2016 Housing Act (HA2016);
  • make electrical safety checks obligatory, also in the HA2016;
  • promote longer term tenancies. Whilst presenting this paper in Parliament, the Secretary of State talked about 3 year tenancies. 

It further intends to support housing associations to build more.

 All this will be explained, and discussed at our meetings - see you there