White Paper – A Fairer Private Rented Sector (June 2022)

1.  The Government’s  White Paper A Fairer Private Rented Sector (June 2022) is a precursor to a Renters Reform Bill (England). It includes a proposal to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and replace it with a new tenancy system.1White Paper Paper A Fairer Private Rented Sector (June 2022) 

2.  More detailed proposals – including the exceptions to be made for supported accommodation providers are contained in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on abolishing section 21.

3.  The table below contains extracts from the White Paper that are of relevance to the supported housing sector.

White Paper –  supported housing extracts

2.1 The Decent Homes Standard in the PRS
Page 25

We have also announced our intention to introduce new powers for local councils to manage their local supported housing market and take action against poor quality providers, helping ensure residents receive the support they should expect.

Case study: better compliance and raising standards: a partnership with Blackpool
Page 26

With funding from DLUHC, the Council will recruit an expanded local enforcement team to tackle exploitation in the local Private Rented Sector and supported housing market, driving up housing quality and protecting the most vulnerable. At the same time, the Council will run an information campaign to make sure that landlords understand their responsibilities and tenants know their rights.

Alongside this enforcement drive, Homes England will join forces with Blackpool Council, using additional funding to explore regeneration opportunities to improve Blackpool’s housing stock and quality of place.

There will also be further support for residents in supported housing, with funding to better standards of support and drive out unscrupulous providers.

Supported Housing Improvement Programme
Page 26

To increase quality and value for money in supported housing, we will invest a total of £20 million to fund local councils facing some of the most acute challenges as part of a three year Supported Housing Improvement Programme. This programme will provide councils with the capacity and capability they need to address local challenges. Alongside this, we will increase the consistency and impact of local efforts to drive up the quality of supported housing by publishing best practice, based on the approaches that councils found most effective in driving up standards.

3.2 Reformed grounds for possession
Page 33

We will introduce new, specialist grounds for possession to make sure that those providing supported and temporary accommodation can continue to deliver vital services. We will also ensure that Private Registered Providers continue to have access to the same range of grounds as private landlords ….

Chapter 5: Better Compliance and Robust Enforcement
Page 45

We have:  …

Funded local councils to boost their enforcement work. This includes awarding £6.7 million over the past five years to over 180 local councils to support innovation and a further £5.4m in 2020-2021 to five local councils to pilot improvements to supported housing.

Landlord experience
Page 75

The time taken for first hearings to be listed by the courts in cases of serious antisocial behaviour and in temporary and supported accommodation will be reduced, subject to Judicial agreement.

Glossary of key terms
Page 80

Supported housing: Accommodation where support, supervision or care is provided to help people live as independently as possible in the community.

Notes   [ + ]

Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill 2022-23

1. A bill sponsored by Bob Blackman MP (Conservative) received its first reading on 15 June 2022.1Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill 2022-23

2. A private Members Bill like this is indicative of the pressure for regulation of Exempt Accommodation, local authority oversight and enhanced enforcement powers.

3. The Bill’s content is now set out in our KnowledgeBank entry.

Notes   [ + ]

Supported housing scrutiny – Blackpool – outputs

1. In 2020 Blackpool embarked upon a scrutiny review of the provision of exempt accommodation in its area and also made a successful bid to participate in the Government’s pilot scheme.1 Blackpool Council, Supported Housing [last accessed: 3 March 2022]

2. It has now produced a final report together with:2 Blackpool Council, Supported Housing Scrutiny Review Final Report [last accessed: 3 March 2022]

  1. a market position statement
  2. a process outline for new providers
  3. standards and charter rights; and
  4. a quality standards self-assessment kit for providers.

3. The  sufficiency and market position statement identifies current and probable future need across numerous client groups.3 Blackpool Council, Market Position Statement – Supported Housing [last accessed: 3 March 2022]

4. Providers of new schemes are expected to follow a 7-phased process but this would require legislative change to make binding.4 Blackpool Council, Supported Housing New Phased Scheme Opening Process [last accessed: 3 March 2022]

5. A Quality Standard self-assessment toolkit for accommodation providers and landlords has been made available. It is to reflect the standards expected of providers of supported housing in Blackpool. It covers three quality areas:5Blackpool Council, Supported Housing – Quality Standards Toolkit [last accessed: 3 March 2022]

  1. accommodation,
  2. tenant support; and
  3. organisation and staff.

Notes   [ + ]

The Registered Provider-Managing Agent business model

1. Prospect Supported Housing decided it had to close. Having investigated the matter, the board published its findings in a report dated October 2021. The report is entitled “Safe Successful Sustainable: A shared vision for better homes, support and opportunities. An evidence-based account from a housing provider that chose to close”. The authors reflect on Prospect’s role as a regulated provider of leased-based supported housing in Birmingham, funded through exempt housing benefit. 1Safe Successful Sustainable: A shared vision for better homes, support and opportunities, Prospect,
October 2021

2.  Prospect’s report illustrates a common model of supported accommodation provision involving Registered Providers (RPs) and their Managing Agents. Since then a relevant court judgement has been published illustrating the details of this model.2Midland Living CIC v Prospect Housing Ltd [2021] EWHC 2622 (Comm)

Prospect’s key asks

3.  Learning from its past experience, Prospect’s key asks include that:3Safe Successful Sustainable: A shared vision for better homes, support and opportunities, Prospect, October 2021, page 41 

  1. the “role of Managing Agents” should “be well-defined with clear governance” structures; and 
  2. “the potential in the model for exploitation and criminality” be acknowledged.

Notes   [ + ]