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A very short note about Wales

By J

As we’ve previously reported, the National Assembly for Wales has been seeking legislative competence over social housing and gypsy and traveller law. The Legislative Competence Order has now been approved and is available here. It came into force on July 22, 2010.

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.


  1. Lawminx

    Though I know next to nothing of the law related to housing, I believe that the Assembly Government’s move to obtain legislative competence over the aforementioned is a good thing, demonstrating a possibility that dwindling housing stocks will be protected for those in absolute and genuine need.

    Call me Labour of the old fashioned sort, ( and we’re talking Michael FOOT, here, I’m that out of touch) but social housing was never intended to be sold on to its occupiers, but as places of shelter for those who had none. In my particular region of Wales former council houses pass through many hands for increasingly ridiculous sums of money when they should never have been made available for sale to begin with.

    Surely if anyone is in a position to purchase a house it is time to move away from social housing and out into the market? I appreciate that this is now a thorny issue -those who have sufficient funds to purchase their current residence may lack the same anywhere else; perhaps this is where Housing Associations factor into the mix.

    Either way, snaps to the AG for their move to protect social housing. I hope they will be able to take the step of increasing their stock and provide, as I’ve said earlier, for those in absolute and genuine need.

  2. David Smith

    I must confess to becoming a bit confused about what powers the Assembly now has delegated to it in relation to Housing and L&T matters. I am particularly uncertain as to whether the Assembly has the ability to introduce planning restrictions on HMOs or amend the maximum Housing Act 1988 rental threshold. I don’t think that they can as the LCO failed before the election.

    Any Wales experts able to shed some light?

  3. Ed Mitchell

    This is how the system for conferring legislative power upon the Welsh Assembly works:

    The Government of Wales Act 2006 allows the National Assembly to make laws for Wales, known as Measures, in relation to a list of topics set out in Schedule 5 to the Act. These laws have the force of primary legislation which is made clear by section 94(1) of the 2006 Act which says that “an Assembly Measure may make any provision that could be made by an Act of Parliament”.

    Accordingly, Assembly Measures may repeal and amend Acts of Parliament about the housing topics below in so far as they apply to Wales.

    The present Legislative Competence Order (LCO) adds a range of housing matters to Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act, the effect being that the Welsh Assembly may make laws in relation to those matters. Amongst the matters are the following:

    (i) “social housing providers”, defined to include local authorities and other bodies providing housing “to people whose needs are not adequately served by the commercial housing market”;

    (ii) “tenure of rented social housing and other arrangements under which social housing is provided”;

    (iii) “disposals of social housing”, e.g. Right to Buy;

    (iv) “provision by local authorities of caravan sites for use by gypsies and travellers”;

    (v) homelessness.

    • NL

      Thanks Ed, but if you look closely you’ll see that none of that answers David’s questions about HMO planning restrictions or the HA 1988 rental threshold. These don’t fall under (i) to (v).


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