Private Sector Housing Policies and the Regulatory Reform Order (2002)
All local authorities are mandated to lay out their policies, with regard to Private Sector Housing, in a public facing document that is normally called a Private Sector Housing Policy. In 2008 the government relaxed the ring-fence on use of DFG monies so that by employing the Regulatory Reform Order (2002), DFG monies could be used for purposes outside the prescribed works contained with the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. The only stipulation was that in order to use the RRO, a local authority must comply with the following conditions.
- There must be a formally adopted policy in place, which sets out how the authority intends to use its powers;
- There must be notice to the public that a policy is in force;
- They must ensure that a copy of the full policy is available to the public for free at the council offices;
- There must be a summary document available on request (though a small charge to cover costs may be allowed)
These powers weren’t used extensively as most authorities had limited DFG monies and demand was usually greater than supply. Consequently many authorities didn’t amend their housing policies to make use of these freedoms.
However in 2015/16 the DFG was placed within the BCF and the central government DFG funding started to rise substantially, encouraging authorities to be more innovative in their use of their DFG funds. The BCF planning guidance for 2017-19 sections 30-34, explicitly encourages local authorities to make use of these powers and innovate beyond the statutory norm.
This section is devoted to showcasing different boroughs policies that exemplify excellent use of their RRO powers and we encourage other authorities to follow these examples.
Please send in your local policies so that we can share good practice across the country.
Examples of RRO policies:
Dorset County Council
Dover District Council
Lichfield District Council
Manchester City Council
Peterborough City Council
Plymouth City Council
Scarborough Borough Council
Sevenoaks District Council
Woking Borough Council