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Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Section 59 – Purpose

106.Section 59 specifies the purpose of Part 2 of the Act, which is to regulate the provision of social housing by English bodies. “Social housing” is defined in sections 68 to 77. “English body” is defined in section 79.

Section 60 - Structural overview

107.Subsection (1) provides that the system set out in Part 2 broadly replicates the effect of the previous system for regulation of registered social landlords (RSLs) in England under Part 1 of the Housing Act 1996. RSLs are non-profit distributing providers of social housing, which in England are registered with the Housing Corporation.

108.Subsection (2)specifies that Part 1 of the 1996 Act will continue to operate in respect of Welsh RSLs as set out in section 61.

109.Subsection (3)specifies that certain provisions of the Housing Act 1996 are applied in England (these are specified in section 178) or are preserved, although they apply only in England (see section 124).

110.Subsection (4)sets out the contents and organisation of Part 2 of the Act which is as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction, including definitions of social housing, the regulator, English and Welsh bodies and registered providers of social housing

  • Chapter 2: Establishment of the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords as the regulator of social housing, including its constitution, objectives and its general powers

  • Chapter 3: Establishment of a register of providers of social housing, including provisions as to eligibility of providers, their profit or non profit designation, the procedure for registration and removal from the register, and the payment of registration fees

  • Chapter 4: Sets out a range of provisions which govern the constitutional arrangements of registered providers, including requirements for accounting, the operation of a moratorium where steps are taken in respect of the insolvency of registered providers, and controls on constitutional changes which result in their restructuring or dissolution

  • Chapter 5: Contains a number of provisions in relation to the disposal of property by registered providers, and the regulator’s powers in relation to such disposals

  • Chapter 6: Sets out the regulator’s regulatory powers including the scope of its powers to set standards, the Secretary of State’s power to issue directions to the regulator in respect of standards and the regulator’s powers for survey, inspection, specifying performance information and carrying out inquiries

  • Chapter 7: Gives the regulator various powers of enforcement, including the power to issue enforcement notices, require the payment of fines or compensation and make provision in relation to the management and constitution of registered providers, make restriction on dealings and give powers to suspend and remove officers.

  • Chapter 8: Sets out provisions to assist the interpretation of Part 2 and also provides for repeals and consequential amendments

Section 61 - Restriction of “registered social landlord” system to Wales

111.This section operates so as to retain Part 1 of the Housing Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”), but to restrict its application to Wales.

112.It does this by amending certain provisions of Part 1 of the 1996 Act.

113.Subsection (1) introduces the amendments in the following subsections and retitles Part 1 of the 1996 Act “Social Rented Sector in Wales”

114.Subsection (2) inserts into the 1996 Act a new section A1. This describes the new purpose of Chapter 1 which is that it “provides for the registration of social landlords in Wales”.

115.Subsection (3) substitutes “the Welsh Ministers” for references to “the Relevant Authority” in section 1 of the 1996 Act, and omits subsections (1A) and (1B) of that section.

116.Subsection (4) inserts a new section 1A after section 1 of the 1996 Act. This new section defines “Welsh body” as a charity whose address is in Wales and which is registered with the Charity Commission, or an industrial and provident society whose registered office is in Wales, or a Companies Act company whose registered office is in Wales.

117.Subsection (5) amends section 2 of the 1996 Act to restrict eligibility for registration to bodies that are:

  • Welsh, and

  • Principally concerned with Welsh housing (and a new subsection (2A) is inserted to give power to Welsh Ministers to decide when a body is principally concerned with Welsh housing).

118.Subsections (6) to (8) set out a number of consequential amendments.

119.Subsection (9) refers to sections 62 and 63 which make consequential amendments.

Section 62 - References to Welsh Ministers

120.This section sets out in a table those provisions of the 1996 Act where “Welsh Ministers” is to be substituted for references to the “Secretary of State”. These amendments are consequential on section 61.

Section 63 - References to National Assembly for Wales

121.This section sets out in a table those provisions of the 1996 Act where “the National Assembly for Wales” is to be substituted for references to the “either House of Parliament” principally to reflect the effects of section 61.

Section 64 - Dissolution of Housing Corporation

122.This section provides for the dissolution of the Housing Corporation by order of the Secretary of State. Subsection (2) provides that the Secretary of State may by order make consequential amendments of enactments referring to it.

Section 65 – Transfer schemes

123.This section provides that the Secretary of State may make one or more schemes for the transfer of the Housing Corporation’s property, rights or liabilities to the regulator, the HCA or the Secretary of State.

Section 66 – Interim arrangements

124.This section confers on the Secretary of State the power to require the Housing Corporation to provide staff, premises, facilities or other assistance to the regulator or the HCA. This mirrors the provisions at section 53 allowing the Secretary of State to require the same of the Urban Regeneration Agency or the Commission for New Towns.

Section 67 – Transitional arrangements

125.This section permits the Secretary of State by order to transfer functions of the Housing Corporation to the regulator, the HCA, or both jointly or concurrently. This order may make provision in relation to English but not Welsh registered social landlords which is similar to any provision made by Part 2 of the Bill. This power would allow the regulator to maintain the current system through transitional arrangements for the period after its establishment but before the new regulatory system is fully in force; for example, before it had consulted on standards.

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