Section 1 – Power to apply for direction suspending the right to buy and related rights
5.Section 1 gives local housing authorities in Wales a power to apply to the Welsh Ministers for a direction suspending the right to buy and related rights.
6.Subsection (1) sets out when a local housing authority (“the authority”) may apply to the Welsh Ministers to suspend the right to buy and related rights.
7.The maximum period of any suspension in an area is five years (although authorities can apply to extend this under section 18). A consultation exercise must be completed 6 months prior to the application being made and in light of the consultation, and any other relevant information, the authority must have concluded that the condition in subsection (2) exists (ie the “housing pressure condition”). The housing pressure condition is that the demand for social housing substantially exceeds its supply or is likely to do so, and that imbalance between supply and demand is likely to increase as a result of the exercise of the right to buy and related rights.
8.Subsection (3)(a)-(d) defines the rights which are related to the right to buy for the purposes of the Measure. A secure tenant has the right in certain circumstances and subject to certain conditions and exceptions, to acquire the freehold of the dwelling-house which he occupies or to be granted a lease of that dwelling-house (the “right to buy”) under Part 5 of the Housing Act 1985 (“the 1985 Act”). The Housing Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”) introduced a right to acquire which extends the right to buy to certain assured tenants (with modifications). The rights related to the right to buy are set out in section 1(3) of the Measure and include the right to acquire and the preserved right to buy and those rights as extended. For the purpose of these notes references to the right to buy include the right to buy and related rights.
9.Subsection (4) provides that an authority can conclude that the housing pressure condition is met in relation to all social housing in its area, to all social housing in a certain part or parts of its area or in relation to a certain type or types of social housing. Social housing includes any housing provided by a social housing provider. A social housing provider includes an authority and a person (other than an authority) which provides housing to, or has functions relating to allocation of housing to people whose needs are not adequately served by the commercial housing market. An authority or such other person is a social housing provider only insofar as it provides, or has functions relating to, the allocation of housing.
10.Subsection (5) states that a type of social housing may be identified by reference to the special needs of tenants, the description of the dwelling-house (for example, three or four bedroom houses), or by the type of social housing provider.