Ministers invite people to "vote out" 200+ housing and construction regulations PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:31

The government is inviting people to “vote out” more than 200 regulations affecting housing and construction in the latest stage of its so-called Red Tape Challenge.

The regulations being put under scrutiny are in four main areas:

  • The private rented sector
  • Social housing
  • Construction related regulations
  • Building regulations and related legislation.

The Department for Communities and Local Government insisted that any simplification “would not come at the cost of quality, and smart regulation will encourage growth while maintaining high safety standards and legal protections”.

The DCLG said the review – intended to identify “excessive or complicated” legislation – would reflect the approach set out in the Government’s Housing Strategy, which was issued last November.

This strategy, the Department claimed, set out the Government’s commitments to better environmental standards, more affordable housing, security of tenure, legal protection for tenants and leaseholders, and support for the elderly, vulnerable households and those on low incomes.

A wide range of social housing regulations are on the list, including:

  • Regulations relating to the list of approved bodies who have the right to let new dwellings under Assured Tenancies (in Section 56 of the Housing Act 1980)
  • Demoted Tenancies (Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2004: These set out the procedure to be followed in a review of a landlord’s decision to seek possession of a demoted tenancy
  • Housing (Right of First Refusal) (England) Regulations 2005: These require that secure tenants who have bought their homes under the Right to Buy scheme, if they want to sell their home during the first ten years after purchase (except for exemptions) must offer the property to prescribed social landlords, for purchase at full market value
  • A number of regulations relating to service charge loans
  • Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002, SI 2002/1860: This gives local housing authorities in England and Wales a new power to improve living conditions in their area (through adapting and repairing living accomodation)
  • Secure Tenancies (Notices) Regulations 1987: These prescribe the forms which have to be served on a secure tenant before a court can entertain proceedings for possession of the property or for the termination or demotion of the tenancy
  • Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003: This specifies the circumstances in which accommodation offered by a local housing authority to an applicant who is homeless or threatened with homelessness will not be regarded as suitable
  • A range of regulations relating to the Right to Buy, setting out for example the information about the scheme that landlords must provide to secure tenants.

The Red Tape Challenge asks whether the regulations should be scrapped altogether; their purpose could be achieved in a non-regulatory way; they could be reformed, simplified or merged; their bureaucracy reduced through better implementation; their enforcement could be made less burdensome; or they should be left as they are.

Junior government minister Baroness Hanham said: "For years builders, businesses, landlords and residents have had to navigate an increasingly complicated set of rules and regulations to do things by the book. Now we're giving them the chance to tell us what they would like us to change so that building a new home or property is a smoother ride.

"The Red Tape Challenge has already helped the Government update or remove hundreds of regulations and I'm confident that with the help of the public and the people who see housing law in action every day, we can streamline housing and construction law while protecting the high standard of  buildings and infrastructure that this country needs."

More information can be found here.


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