A guide to the Autumn Statement 2023 for social housing landlords
4 December 2023
The Autumn Statement 2023, delivered by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, brought several significant announcements impacting the social housing sector.
Here’s a rundown of the key points and their potential effects on social housing landlords.
Restoration of Local Housing Allowance rates
The Chancellor announced the restoration of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to the 30th percentile, effective from April 2024.
This measure is particularly pertinent in alleviating the cost-of-living crisis for tenants.
For social housing landlords, this could result in a decreased demand for emergency housing solutions, as more tenants in the private sector might afford their rent, reducing the overflow into social housing.
In the short term, this could make it harder to find tenants and some landlords may decide to start making properties more affordable or attractive to potential renters.
Increase in Universal Credit
Universal Credit and other benefits will see a 6.7% increase from April 2024.
This increase, which aligns with September’s inflation figure, will bolster the financial capabilities of many households.
Social housing landlords can anticipate a positive impact, as this increase might enhance rent affordability for tenants, potentially leading to reduced arrears and more stable income streams.
The allocation of £32m to address planning backlogs is a significant step towards accelerating new housing projects.
Social housing landlords can expect a smoother and quicker planning process for new developments, potentially speeding up the delivery of new social housing units.
Nutrient neutrality funding
The investment of £110m over the next two years in nutrient-mitigation schemes addresses a critical barrier to housing development.
For social housing landlords, this funding could unlock the development of new projects that were previously stalled, aiding in expanding their housing portfolio.
Funding boost for affordable homes
The additional £3b funding for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme (AHGS) is a game-changer, promising to facilitate the delivery of 20,000 new homes.
Housing associations engaged in social housing development stand to benefit significantly from this funding, enabling them to expand their affordable housing offerings.
Social housing landlords should be on the lookout for potential investment opportunities in the long term because of this scheme.
Local Authority Housing Fund enhancement
The extra £450m allocated to the Local Authority Housing Fund will help create 2,400 new housing units.
This influx of funding is likely to alleviate some housing and homelessness pressures, indirectly benefiting social housing landlords by potentially reducing the demand for emergency housing solutions.
Public Works Loan Board policy margin extension
The extension of the Public Works Loan Board policy margin could lead to savings and additional investments in social housing.
This financial manoeuvre may provide social housing landlords with more favourable borrowing terms, facilitating investments in new projects or improvements to existing properties.
Focus on homelessness and the Homes for Ukraine scheme
Finally, the Chancellor addressed the pressing issue of homelessness within the broader society and his plans to tackle it.
The investment in homelessness prevention and the continuation of support for the Homes for Ukraine scheme demonstrates a commitment to housing stability.
While indirectly impacting social housing landlords, these measures contribute to a more stable housing environment overall, which is beneficial for the sector.
In conclusion, the Autumn Statement 2023 presents several opportunities and positive developments for social housing landlords.
From increased funding and planning reforms to measures aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis, these announcements provide a more optimistic outlook for the sector, enabling landlords to better meet the needs of their tenants and communities.
If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised within the Autumn Statement, please get in touch with one of our team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at December 2023.