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Local Authority round-up 23/09/22

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.

Commercial

City council to revoke late night levy

Nottingham City Council has announced it is revoking a levy on late night licensed premises in a bid to ease the financial pressure on local businesses. Nottingham’s Late Night Levy was introduced in 2014, levying a charge on licensed premises across the city operating between midnight and 6am. The funds raised – estimated by the council to be around £67,000 a year – were split between the council and police to tackle late night alcohol-related crime. The city council decided on Monday that it would end the levy to help support businesses that are struggling in the wake of the pandemic and with the cost-of-living crisis. Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion, Neghat Khan, said “A lot has changed since the Late Night Levy was introduced eight years ago, with the hospitality industry really struggling during the pandemic – only to be hit by the cost-of-living crisis bringing them higher bills and lower incomes from reduced customer numbers. It was the right time for us to consider whether the levy should be revoked, to ease the financial burden on existing businesses and to help encourage businesses looking to expand or invest in Nottingham’s late night economy.”

For more information please click here.

Government announces Energy Bill Relief Scheme

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which will see energy prices for non-domestic energy customers such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations cut in order to protect them from rising energy costs. Under the scheme the government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers who are facing significantly inflated energy costs due to global price rises. To do this, the government has set a Supported Wholesale Price (a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity), which is expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, on any contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022. The discounted price will initially be in place for a six month period from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Welsh Government introduces Bill to ban single-use plastics

On 20 September 2022, the Welsh Government introduced the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill to Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) which is also accompanied by an explanatory memorandum. The Bill makes it an offence for a person to supply or offer to supply (including for free) certain commonly littered and unnecessary single-use plastic (SUP) products to a consumer in Wales. The SUP products included are cutlery, plates, stirrers, drinking straws (except for health needs), plastic stemmed cotton buds, balloon sticks, expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene fast-food containers and cups, polystyrene lids for all cups and fast-food containers, thin plastic single-use carrier bags (except for health or safety needs), and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic. Local authorities will have powers to enforce the offence. Importantly, the Bill includes a regulation-making power to enable Welsh Ministers to add or amend the SUP products that are subject to this offence. Such regulations will be made subject to the approval of the Senedd.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Annex was ancillary to dwelling house

Planning permission was refused for the erection of a single-storey granny annex for ancillary use to the main dwelling. The local planning authority considered that the proposal was tantamount to a new dwelling and would not genuinely be ancillary. The appeal proposal involved replacing an existing outbuilding with a new single-storey flat roofed building that would be used as a residential annex to the host property. The submitted evidence indicated that the annex would be occupied by the owners (the appellants), who, due to their advancing age and ill health, required more suitable accommodation and the support of their family, who would live in the host property. The proposed footprint showed a combined living and kitchen area, shower room, toilet, and two bedrooms. No other external works were proposed. There would be no new boundaries or subdivision of the plot. The inspector considered that the proposed building would constitute a residential annex in that it would:

  • Replace an existing outbuilding that appeared to have been used for domestic purposes to serve the host property.
  • Be in the same ownership as the host property.
  • Share the services and utilities of the host property and the existing pedestrian and vehicular access and parking.
  • Be well related to the host property and have a strong visual link with it.
  • Secure the replacement of an existing poor-quality outbuilding making effective use of the land.
  • Be small-scale and would secure a high-quality sustainable design.
  • Be subservient to the host property.

The inspector also considered that there would be a strong functional link to the host property as the occupants of the annex would require the support and care of their family.

For more information please click here.

Government confirms widening of access to database of rogue landlords under Housing and Planning Act 2016

On 8 September 2022, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published a consultation outcome confirming that it would be widening access to its database of rogue landlords, to allow tenants, landlords and local authorities access. Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the Secretary of State is required to establish and operate a database of rogue landlords and property agents subject to banning orders or convicted of a banning order offence. The database content is maintained and kept up to date by local housing authorities and information from the database can be used by the Secretary of State for statistical and research purposes and disclosed in an anonymised format. In July 2019, the government consulted on opening up access to the database to allow tenants and prospective tenants to access it in order to identify whether their landlord had received a banning order or been convicted of a banning order offence. The new Property Portal will enable landlords to understand their responsibilities, tenants to access information about their landlord’s compliance and local authorities to have access to better data in order to crack down on criminal landlords and incorporate some of the existing database’s functionality to mandate the entry of all eligible unspent landlord offences and make them publicly visible.

For more information please click here.

Consultation to increase notice period for converted periodic standard contracts

The Welsh Government has published a consultation, Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016: improving security of tenure by increasing the period of notice, on proposals to extend the landlord’s notice period required for converted periodic standard contracts under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (RHWA 2016). A converted periodic standard contract is one that was a periodic assured shorthold tenancy (AST) or licence at the point when the RHWA 2016 comes into force. The consultation seeks views on the proposals to:

  • Increase the minimum period of notice given when a landlord’s notice is issued under section 173 of the RHWA 2016 from two months to six months.
  • Introduce the proposed increased notice period six months after the RHWA 2016 is brought into force on 1 December 2022.

The consultation closes on 24 October 2022.

For more information please click here.

Tenant satisfaction measures to be introduced next year

The Regulator of Social Housing has announced that from 1 April 2023 new tenant satisfaction measures will be introduced which will means that all registered providers of social housing will need to collect and publish a range of comparable information on areas such as repairs, safety checks and complaints. The new requirements apply to both housing associations and local authorities and will come into force through the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures Standard which provides that all registered providers will need to collect tenant satisfaction measures data. Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH, said “The new measures will provide a valuable source of data to help ensure social housing landlords provide safe homes of a decent standard and a quality service to tenants. Local authorities and housing associations now need to make sure they have the systems and processes in place to start collecting data from April 2023.”

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

The Building Safety Act 2022: What do you need to know?

With the introduction of the Fire Safety Act last year and the more recent Building Safety Act 2022, it might feel like the rules and regulations for social housing providers are in a constant state of flux. As such the social housing team at Ward Hadaway would like to invite you to attend a free webinar on 28th September at 12pm, discussing the ins and outs of the Building Safety Act 2022. At this webinar Construction specialist, Neil Williamson, will give an overview of the Act, helping you to understand what it means for registered providers and local authorities. Neil will also offer his keen insight into how these changes will impact new developments and the contractual arrangements that providers will now need to implement. Fire safety and general building safety is always of utmost precedence, and this discussion promises to contain the useful and practical advice, to guide you, our colleagues in the social housing sector, through the recent changes in regulation.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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