Yesterday was not a good day for the Department of Communities and Local Government, as they suffered two key defeats over the Housing and Planning Bill in the House of Lords.
The House of Lords voted in favour of two significant amendments to the Starter Homes provisions in the Housing and Planning Bill:
- Peers voted to remove the ability for the government to set requirements for the delivery of starter homes through statutory instruments - leaving the % of starter homes to be delivered in the hands of local Councils; and
- Peers voted in favour of an amendment that would require the 20% starter homes discount to be paid back should they re-sell the property within 20 years (as opposed to the 8 years proposed by the Government). The amount to be repaid would be reduced by 5% for each year that they had lived in the property before sale.
This is the first major rebellion by the House of Lords on the Housing & Planning Bill, but from the tone of the debate so far I suspect it may not be the last!.
But yesterday evening, during the bill's report stage in the House of Lords, peers voted by 280 to 194 in favour of amendments that would remove clauses from the bill to give the secretary of state powers to provide through regulations a Starter Homes requirement and to stipulate that a local authority may only grant permission for a residential development if the requirement is met. ... Kerslake said that the amendment would "leave the choice with individual authorities, but makes clear that the local authority must have regard to the provision of Starter Homes when it comes to make its decision". ... The government suffered another defeat as peers voted by 275 to 181 to back another amendment requiring repayment of the 20 per cent discount on a sliding scale if the property is sold during the first 20 years.