Legal definition – England
1. The legal framework for the regulation of social housing in England is set out in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.
2. For the purposes of the Act “social housing” means:1Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 s 68(1)
3. Additionally the Secretary of State may make regulations providing that specified property (or a specified class of property) is or is not to be treated as social housing.2Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 s 72(1)
4. The regulations may provide for property to be social housing despite not meeting the definitions of low cost rental accommodation or low cost home ownership accommodation where the Secretary of State thinks the property is of a kind or is provided in circumstances, that serve the needs of a group whose needs are not adequately served by the commercial housing market. 3Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 s 72(2) This may, for example, cover housing for vulnerable people.
5. Accommodation which is “social housing” because it is low cost rental accommodation or low cost home ownership accommodation remains “social housing” unless a specified event occurs, ie:4Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 s 68(2)
- sale to a tenant,
- expiry of a lease, or
- disposal with the regulator’s consent.
6. This means that once designated as social housing, accommodation continues to be social housing and is subject to the regulator’s standards and enforcement powers unless one of the specified events occurs.
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