Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of Welfare Reform and Work Bill – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 27th January 2016.

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Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 10:30 pm, 27th January 2016

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that quick but extensive exposition of what is in the amendments. Clearly there is a lot that we need to study in the record. I thank her for the notes we received in advance but we have had a limited time in which to absorb them. If we need to, perhaps we could take up the offer of a meeting between now and Third Reading, whenever that is. However, as a matter of prudence, we reserve the right to come back at Third Reading if anything proves to be contentious. We accept the proposition that these are enabling, protective or technical amendments and that that situation should not arise but, frankly, until we have had the chance to study them in detail—which we should have—I hope the Minister will accept that.

Amendment 54 agreed.

Amendments 55 to 59

Moved by Lord Freud

55: Clause 24, page 24, line 3, at end insert—

“(b) regulations under section 26 of that Act, or

(c) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to that Act.””

56: Clause 24, page 24, line 7, at end insert—

“(b) regulations under section 26 of that Act, or

(c) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to that Act.””

57: Clause 24, page 24, line 11, at end insert—

“(ii) regulations under section 26 of that Act, or

(iii) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to that Act,”.”

58: Clause 24, page 24, line 15, at end insert—

“(ii) regulations under section 26 of that Act, or

(iii) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to that Act,”.”

59: Clause 24, transpose Clause 24 to after Clause 28

Amendments 55 to 59 agreed.

Amendment 59A not moved.

Clause 25: Further provision about social housing rents

Amendment 60

Moved by Lord Freud

60: Clause 25, page 24, line 21, leave out “, exemptions and enforcement” and insert “and exemptions”

Amendment 60 agreed.

Schedule 2: Further provision about social housing rents

Amendment 61 not moved.

Amendment 62

Moved by Lord Freud

62: Schedule 2, page 32, line 40, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) and insert—

“(i) was payable at the beginning of 8 July 2015 by the person who was the tenant of that social housing, in a case where 8 July 2015 is the relevant day,

(ii) was payable at the beginning of the relevant day by the person who was the tenant of that social housing, in a case where the relevant day falls after 8 July 2015 and the person who was the tenant at the beginning of 8 July 2015 continued as tenant until at least that later time,

(iii) is likely to have been payable at the beginning of the relevant day by the person who was the tenant at the beginning of 8 July 2015 if the person’s tenancy had continued until at least that later time, in a case where the relevant day falls after 8 July 2015 and the person who was the tenant at the beginning of 8 July 2015 ceased to be the tenant before that later time, or

(iv) is likely to have been payable at the beginning of the relevant day by a tenant of that social housing, in a case where there was no tenant at that time and sub-paragraph (iii) does not apply,”

Amendment 62 agreed.

Amendment 63 not moved.

Amendments 64 to 76

Moved by Lord Freud

64: Schedule 2, page 33, line 20, leave out sub-paragraphs (7) and (8) and insert—

“(6A) The Secretary of State may by regulations define “formula rent” and may, in particular, provide that it is a rent set in accordance with a method specified in the regulations.

(6B) Regulations under sub-paragraph (6A) may, in particular, make provision by reference to—

(a) the standard published in January 2015 by the regulator under section 194(2A) of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (the powers of the regulator to set standards relating to levels of rent),

(b) Rent Standard Guidance published in January 2015 by the regulator, or

(c) Guidance on Rents for Social Housing published in May 2014 by the Secretary of State.”

65: Schedule 2, page 34, line 17, leave out sub-paragraph (6)

66: Schedule 2, page 34, line 26, leave out from beginning to end of line 30 and insert “the higher of—

(a) the amount found by—

(i) determining the rate of the market rent for that social housing when the tenancy begins, and

(ii) determining the amount that is 80% of the amount that would be payable in respect of a year if that rate had applied during the year, and

(b) the amount that would be payable in respect of the first relevant year if the tenant were paying rent at the social rent rate.”

67: Schedule 2, page 34, line 40, leave out from “is” to end of line 44 and insert “the higher of the amounts described in sub-paragraph (3A).”

68: Schedule 2, page 34, line 44, at end insert—

“(3A) The amounts referred to in sub-paragraph (3) are—

(a) the amount found by—

(i) determining the rate of the market rent for that social housing when the tenancy begins,

(ii) determining the amount that is 80% of the amount that would be payable in respect of a year if that rate had applied during the year, and

(iii) (if necessary) reducing that amount in proportion to the part of that relevant year that elapsed before the tenancy begins, and

(b) the amount that would be payable in respect of the period in question if the tenant were paying rent at the social rent rate.”

69: Schedule 2, page 35, line 31, at end insert—

“( ) an arrangement between a local authority and the Homes and Communities Agency, the Greater London Authority or the Secretary of State under which rents for social housing may be set on a particular basis.”

70: Schedule 2, page 35, line 32, leave out sub-paragraphs (5) and (6) and insert—

“(4A) Regulations under sub-paragraph (2) may define “affordable rent” and may, in particular, provide that it is a rent set in accordance with a method specified, or of a description specified, in the regulations.

(4B) The methods that may be specified in the regulations include, but are not limited to, methods that provide for a maximum level of rent when accommodation is initially let to be a certain percentage of market rent in certain cases or circumstances.”

71: Schedule 2, page 35, line 41, at end insert—

“( ) A reference to an amount of market rent includes a reference to an amount payable by way of service charge.”

72: Schedule 2, page 37, line 26, at end insert—

“( ) a direction that Part 1 is to have effect in relation to a private registered provider specified in the direction as if a reference in Part 1 to the social rent rate were a reference to that rate increased by the percentage specified in the direction;”

73: Schedule 2, page 38, line 12, at end insert—

“( ) a direction that Part 1 is to have effect in relation to a local authority specified in the direction as if a reference in Part 1 to the social rent rate were a reference to that rate increased by the percentage specified in the direction;”

74: Schedule 2, page 38, line 38, leave out paragraph 7

75: Schedule 2, page 39, line 9, after “1(5)(a)(iii)” insert “or (iv)”

76: Schedule 2, page 39, line 10, leave out “the beginning of 8 July 2015” and insert “a particular time”

Amendments 64 to 76 agreed.

Clause 26: Provision about excepted cases

Amendments 77 and 78

Moved by Lord Freud

77: Clause 26, page 24, line 43, at end insert—

“(3A) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (3) may, in particular, provide for section 21 or Part 1 of Schedule 2 to have effect with modifications.

(3B) The modifications that may be made by virtue of subsection (3A) include (but are not limited to) modifications that—

(a) provide for the maximum amount of rent to be increased from year to year by no more than a percentage specified in the regulations;

(b) provide for the maximum amount of rent to be determined by disregarding the effect of a temporary reduction or waiver of rent;

(c) provide for the maximum amount of rent to be determined by reference to a different period;

(d) provide for section 21(1) or paragraph 1(4)(c) or (5)(c) or 3(4) of Schedule 2 to have effect as if it referred to a different percentage;

(e) provide for paragraph 1, 2 or 3 of Schedule 2 to have effect as if the social rent rate were uplifted by a percentage specified in the regulations;

(f) provide for paragraph 3(2) or (3) of Schedule 2 to have effect as if paragraph 3(2)(a)(ii) or (3A)(a)(ii) referred to a different percentage;

(g) provide for the maximum amount of rent to be determined by reference to what would have been the amount if an exception in regulations under section 22 or paragraph 5(5) of Schedule 2(including an exception making such provision as is described in section 22(7) or paragraph 5(7)) had not applied.

(3C) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (3B)(d) may not provide for a higher percentage to have effect.

(3D) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (3B)(e) may, in particular, make provision in relation to cases where an exception in regulations under paragraph 5(5) of Schedule 2 making provision about social housing which satisfies conditions prescribed by the regulations as to design, facilities, use or the provision of support to tenants applies.

(3E) Regulations under subsection (1) may not provide for a maximum amount of rent payable by a tenant of social housing in respect of a relevant year, or a part of a relevant year, which is less than the amount that would be payable by the tenant in respect of that period if the rent was payable at the social rent rate in that period, in a case where an exception in regulations under paragraph 5(5) of Schedule 2 applies.”

78: Clause 26, page 25, line 15, leave out subsection (8)

Amendments 77 and 78 agreed.

Clause 31: Interpretation

Amendments 79 to 82

Moved by Lord Freud

79: Clause 31, page 27, leave out lines 33 and 34

80: Clause 31, page 28, line 10, at end insert—

““social rent rate” has the meaning given by Schedule 2;”

81: Clause 31, page 28, line 34, at end insert—

“( ) In determining the maximum amount of rent payable by a person who is a tenant of social housing for part of a relevant year, a fraction of a day during which the person is a tenant of that social housing is to be treated as a whole day during which the person is a tenant of that social housing.”

82: Clause 31, page 28, line 37, leave out from beginning to “does” in line 40 and insert—

“(a) in a case where the maximum amount applying under regulations under section 26 or Part 1 of Schedule 2 is determined on a basis that treats an amount, or a description of an amount, payable by way of service charge as part of the rent payable, includes a reference to an amount, or an amount of that description, payable by way of service charge,

(b) in a case where section 21 applies after regulations under section 26have, or Part 1 of Schedule 2 has, applied a maximum amount determined on a basis that treats an amount, or a description of an amount, payable by way of service charge as part of the rent payable, includes a reference to an amount, or an amount of that description, payable by way of service charge,

(c) in a case not falling within paragraph (a) or (b) where, under the terms of the lease or agreement, an amount, or a description of an amount, payable by way of service charge is part of the rent payable, includes a reference to an amount, or an amount of that description, payable by way of service charge, and

(d) in any other case,”

Amendments 79 to 82 agreed.

Amendment 82A

Moved by Baroness Meacher

82A: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause—

“Housing costs: payments to landlords

Housing costs: payments to landlords

(1) Regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 5 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (claims and payments regulations) must provide for the payment of the housing costs element of an award of universal credit to the landlord where the claimant requests such payment to be made to the landlord.

(2) In this section—

“landlord” means the person who is entitled to payment of rent for the occupation of the accommodation occupied by the claimant as his or her home;

“rent” includes the license or similar payment for the use and occupation of the accommodation.”