Housing Act 1996
1996 Chapter 52 - continued

 
  PART II
  HOUSING FINANCE
 
Housing Revenue Account: directions as to certain matters
 4. - (1) In Part VI of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (housing finance), after section 78 (directions as to proper accounting practices) insert-
 
 
"Directions as to treatment of service charges, &c.     78A. - (1) The Secretary of State may give directions as to what items or amounts are to be regarded as referable to property within a local housing authority's Housing Revenue Account where one or more parts of a building have been disposed of but the common parts remain property within that account.
 
    (2) Any such direction also has effect for the purposes of any Housing Repairs Account kept by the authority.
 
      (3) Directions under this section may give the authority a discretion as to whether items or amounts are accounted for in the Housing Revenue Account or any Housing Repairs Account or in another revenue account.
 
      (4) In this section "common parts" includes the structure and exterior of the building and common facilities provided, whether in the building or elsewhere, for persons who include the occupiers of one or more parts of the building.
 
Directions as to accounting for work subject to competitive tendering.     78B. - (1) This section applies where work is carried out by a local housing authority which has successfully bid for the work on a competitive basis.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may give directions-
 
 
    (a) to secure that the amount debited to the Housing Revenue Account or any Housing Repairs Account of the authority in respect of the work reflects the amount of the authority's successful bid for the work rather than expenditure actually incurred;
 
    (b) allowing an authority to credit to its Housing Revenue Account any surpluses reasonably attributable to work undertaken on or in connection with property within that account.
      (3) Directions under subsection (2)(a) may make provision for determining the amount to be treated as the amount of the authority's successful bid.
 
      References in this Part to expenditure shall be construed as references to the amount falling to be debited in accordance with the directions.
 
      (4) Directions under subsection (2)(b) may make provision as to the ascertainment of the surpluses referred to and the circumstances in which a surplus is or is not to be taken to be attributable to property within an authority's Housing Revenue Account.".
 
      (2) The above amendment has effect for the financial year beginning on 1st April 1997 and subsequent financial years.
 
 
Housing Revenue Account subsidy: final decision on amount
 5. - (1) In Part VI of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (housing finance), after section 80 (calculation of Housing Revenue Account subsidy) insert-
 
 
"Final decision on amount of Housing Revenue Account subsidy.     80A. - (1) The Secretary of State shall, as soon as he thinks fit after the end of the year, make a final decision as to the amount (if any) of Housing Revenue Account subsidy payable to a local housing authority for that year and notify the authority in writing of his decision.
 
    (2) Once notified to the authority the decision is conclusive as to the amount (if any) payable by way of subsidy and shall not be questioned in any legal proceedings.
 
      (3) Where the amount of Housing Revenue Account subsidy paid to an authority is less than the amount finally decided, the authority is entitled to be paid the balance.
 
      (4) Where Housing Revenue Account subsidy has been paid to an authority in excess of the amount finally decided, the Secretary of State may recover the excess, with interest from such time and at such rates as he thinks fit.
 
      Without prejudice to other methods of recovery, a sum recoverable under this subsection may be recovered by withholding or reducing subsidy.
 
      (5) Nothing in this section affects any power of the Secretary of State to vary a determination as to the amount of subsidy before the final decision is made.".
 
      (2) The above amendment applies in relation to the amount of subsidy payable-
 
 
    (a) to authorities in England for the financial year beginning on 1st April 1996 and subsequent years; and
 
    (b) to authorities in Wales for such financial years as the Secretary of State may specify by order made by statutory instrument.
 
Abolition of exchequer contributions for agricultural housing
 6. - (1) No contribution shall be made by the Secretary of State by virtue of Part II of Schedule 15 to the Housing Act 1985 (exchequer contributions for agricultural housing) in respect of any year after the year ending on 31st March 1996.
 
      (2) Part II of Schedule 15 to that Act is amended as follows.
 
      (3) For the heading substitute-
 
 
          "ANNUAL GRANTS FOR AGRICULTURAL HOUSING".
      (4) For paragraph 1 substitute-
 
 

"Annual grants by local housing authorities
 1. - (1) Annual grants shall, notwithstanding the abolition of exchequer contributions by paragraph 6(1) of Schedule 18 to the Housing Act 1996, continue to be payable by local housing authorities in respect of agricultural housing provided in pursuance of arrangements made under section 46 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1958.
 
      (2) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Schedule, such annual grants are payable, in respect of any house as to which the Secretary of State originally undertook to make annual contributions under section 46 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1958, for the remainder of the 40 year period for which that undertaking was given.
 
      (3) The amount paid by way of annual grant to the owner of a house shall not be less than the amount of the last annual contribution paid by the Secretary of State in respect of the house.".
 
      (5) For paragraph 2(1) substitute-
 
 

"Conditions of payment of annual grant
 2. - (1) It is a condition of the payment of a grant in respect of a house in any year that throughout the year the house-
 
 
    (a) is reserved for members of the agricultural population, and
 
    (b) if let, is let at a rent not exceeding the limit applicable in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph,
  and that in the opinion of the local housing authority all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the maintenance of the house in a proper state of repair during the year.".
      (6) In paragraph 3(1), for "contribution" substitute "grant".
 
      (7) For paragraph 4 substitute-
 
 
"4. A grant shall not be made or shall be reduced, as the local housing authority think fit, if (before the grant is paid) the local housing authority are of the opinion that during the whole or the greater part of the period to which the payment of the grant is referable the house has not been available as a dwelling fit for habitation, unless the authority is satisfied that that could not with reasonable diligence have been achieved.".
 
      (8) In paragraph 5 omit the words "the Secretary of State or".
 
      (9) After paragraph 5 insert-
 
 

"Commutation of future annual grant
 6. - (1) A local authority may make an offer in writing to the person who is for the time being the owner of a house as respects which annual grant is payable under this Part of this Schedule to pay a lump sum in lieu of-
 
 
    (a) the annual grant payable for the year in which the offer is accepted; and
 
    (b) any further payments of annual grant that would (apart from this paragraph) be payable for the remainder of the period for which the original arrangements under section 46 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1958 were made.
      (2) An owner may accept an offer made under this paragraph by notice in writing to the local housing authority.
 
      (3) Subject to sub-paragraph (4) below, where such an offer is accepted the local housing authority shall pay to the owner a lump sum calculated in such manner as the authority may determine.
 
      (4) A lump sum shall not be paid as respects a house unless the local housing authority are satisfied that the conditions in this Part of this Schedule have been observed throughout the year preceding the date on which the lump sum would otherwise be paid.
 
      (5) On payment of a lump sum under this paragraph to the owner of a house-
 
 
    (a) no further annual grants under this Part of this Schedule shall be payable in respect of the house; and
 
    (b) the conditions described in this Part of this Schedule shall cease to apply to the house.".
      (10) Nothing in this paragraph affects the operation of Part II of Schedule 15 to the Housing Act 1985 in respect of any year ending before 1st April 1996.
 
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Prepared 22 December 1996