Recent amendments to the Supported Housing Regulatory Oversight Bill

1. The report stage of the Bill occurred on March 3, 2023. The government proposed three amendments1Report Stage: Friday 3 March 2023, Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill
(Amendment Paper)
that have been incorporated into the Bill as introduced in the House of Lords.2Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill [as brought from the Commons]  

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

Amendment 1 – Universal local licensing

3. The Bill allows the Secretary of State to designate specific local housing authority districts as subject to licensing for exempted accommodation.  There were concerns about poor providers moving to different areas to avoid geographically specific regulations.

4. Amendment 1 to clause 4 enables the Secretary of State to require licensing schemes for exempt accommodation in every local authority in England.

5. Felicity Buchan, the government minister, explained that universal local licensing would stop landlords who failed the “fit and proper person” test from relocating to unlicensed areas. 3Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill Volume 728: debated on Friday 3 March 2023 The amendment was accepted without division and is now clause 4(5) in the Bill introduced in the House of Lords.

Amendment 2 – Needs assessment in licensing

6. Clause 5 of the Bill outlines permissible licensing conditions.

7. There are concerns about how residents access supported housing and the potential problems they may face if they are admitted without an appropriate needs assessment. Placing someone in supported housing without proper evaluation may result in unsuitable living conditions and hinder the individual’s progress towards independent living.

8. There have been issues with residents being mixed together inappropriately and poor-quality supported housing being advertised on websites like Gumtree and Zoopla without appropriate needs assessment. Felicity Buchan mentioned a recent meeting with Gumtree representatives, who have started to crack down on inappropriate advertisements and are willing to work with the government to address this issue.4Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill Volume 728: debated on Friday 3 March 2023 The government plans to work with other services as well to find solutions.

9. Amendment 2 adds to the list of conditions that may be attached to a supported housing license, requiring assessments of residents’ or potential residents’ needs, including how those assessments are conducted. The amendment was accepted without division and now forms clause 5(3)(c) as introduced in the Lords version of the Bill.

10. The details of these conditions will be subject to consultation, but the amendment highlights the importance of providing tailored support to residents based on their individual needs.

Amendment 3 – Statutory consultees

11. The Bill includes a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to consult on a number of issues  (clause 6).

12. The Local Government Association asked to be replaced as a statutory consultee by local housing authorities and social service authorities. 

13. The purpose of Amendment 3 is to ensure that the views of the local authorities responsible for implementing many of the measures in the Bill are taken into account when designing the licensing regime.

14. The amendment was accepted without division and is now clause 6(4) in the Bill introduced in the House of Lords.

Martin Ward 6 April 2023


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