Yesterday afternoon, Dean Underwood joined leading solicitors and key clients Clarke Willmott LLP at the House of Lords to discuss current and future issues in housing law and policy.
Dean joined the Clarke Willmott delegation at the invitation of partner Jonathan Hulley and the firm's social housing manager, Laura Shimili, formerly of the Chartered Institute of Housing. They spent an hour with cross-bench peer Lord Best, former President of the Local Government Association and Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, whose input in the recent passages of the Welfare Reform and Housing and Planning Bills through Parliament was instrumental in securing key Lords' amendments.
Together, they considered a range of topical issues including:
- the future of social housing post Brexit;
- the extent to which local housing authorities can and have put the proceeds of right to buy sales towards the building and regeneration of social housing stock;
- the likely impact on local authority stock of extending the right to buy to the assured tenants of registered providers;
- the means available to local housing authorities to improve the standard of accommodation and lettings in the private rented sector, including additional and selective licensing schemes under the Housing Act 2004 and new enforcement provisions, such as banning orders, in the Housing and Planning Act 2016;
- the likely legislative agenda for the Parliamentary year, including the Housing and Infrastructure Bill, expected this summer; and
- a British Bill of Rights and its implications for the future of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The meeting led to a constructive discussion about ways in which the legal profession and related organisations, such as the Social Housing Law Association, might contribute to the improvement and passage of Bills through Parliament. Jonathan, Laura and Dean now look forward to working with Lord Best in the future.