Our glorious overloads (the Government to you and me) have blessed us with the a new piece of legislation:
The Housing & Regeneration Act 2008 having received royal assent last week.
Go here for the full text OPSI version.
So what does this odd 300 page monster say?
Well, Part One focuses on on the new Homes & Communities Agency which has been created to take on the role of the soon to be abolished English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation's investment functions.
Part Two sets up the Tenant Service Authority, yes that is what it is called now after Caroline Flint - the Housing Minister - didn't like the originally legislated title of Oftenant. Effectively the TSA will be the new Regulator of social housing taking over from the Housing Corporation. Hopefully they will give some better responses to requests for information than the HC ever did.
The remainder of the Act (Parts 3 and 4 with Schedules) reflects the new "other" changes the Government want to make.
The introduction of sustainability certificates with a rating scheme for new builds in England and Wales. When the owner goes to sell a new build sustainability information must be supplied to the purchaser.
Local authorities now have a duty to hold ballots prior to any transfer of their housing stock to a private sector landlord. They also need to seek the Secretary of State's permission following the successful ballot.
The Act introduces the Family Intervention Tenancy for local authorities and registered providers of housing. This type of tenancy is granted to those tenants whom have a possession order against them on the grounds of ASB, and provides an option for supporting the tenant and their family.
The Act also abolishes the status of the tolerated trespasser. For all future possession orders the tenancy will continue until the warrant for possession is executed.
There are also changes to the right to buy process, and greater depth to service charges.
Overall the thread of tenant empowerment runs throughout the Act, and explains how the newly named TSA will be operated.
A friend is writing some training seminars on the H&RA 2008 so I shall wait and see what he makes of it before adding more, since more will surely follow as the Act is slowly brought into force.