Housing Association Bill moves a step closer to becoming law

(Title Image: WLGA)

At a Glance Guide

Stage 1 report (summary)

The Registered Social Landlords Bill was introduced to take housing associations back into the private sector following a re-classification as public sector bodies by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

It follows fears that the ONS’s decision will cost the sector £200million because housing associations would no longer be able to access private investment. The Bill makes a number of changes to the administration of housing associations to satisfy the ONS to an extent that they can overturn their decision.

Major Changes at Stage 2

A sub-committee of the External Affairs Committee was responsible for scrutinising and amending the Bill. The Member in Charge is Housing & Regeneration Minister, Rebecca Evans (Lab, Gower).

Most of the amendments made at Stage 2 were technical in nature (relating to timescales and definitions) and not really worth discussing in any great detail because it would just be confusing for everyone. More from the Assembly Research Service (pdf).

The Key Amendments at Stage 3

Amendment 1 – Rebecca Evans AM
If housing associations merge, the details of any consultation with tenants need to be presented to the Welsh Government, but it doesn’t force them to carry out a consultation if it would put tenants at risk (i.e. the housing association is in financial difficulties).
Vote: Approved – 37 For, 16 Against

Amendment 2 – David Melding AM (Con, South Wales Central)
Places a duty on a housing association/associations to carry out a full consultation with all tenants prior to a merger.
Vote: Rejected – 23 For, 30 Against
Reason for Rejection: Any housing association not upholding tenants rights will still be investigated.

Amendment 19 – David Melding AM
A Senedd Committee must review the Act and recommend amendments or a repeal between 2-4 years after the Act has been passed.
Vote: Rejected – 23 For, 30 Against
Reason for Rejection: Post-legislative scrutiny should be undertaken at the Senedd’s discretion and AMs shouldn’t be forced into sticking to a timetable.

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