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Strategies and policies relating to the provision of suitable housing and related support

Housing Strategies and Policies

Housing Strategies and Policies

The Housing Strategy

The Somerset Housing Strategy (2019 – 2023) recognises that everyone needs a safe and settled home and that this is essential to our health and wellbeing. The strategy sets out our plans for continuing the delivery of housing and effective management and related services. It contains several measures to deliver its priorities and to ensure that we have sufficient resources to improve the homes we have and to build more affordable housing.

Please note: This strategy has been extended until March 2025.

The Housing Enforcement Policy

The Housing Enforcement Policy explains how the council will use its powers to ensure that residents live in safe and healthy homes. This policy describes how we will work with landlords and property owners, when we will use informal and formal enforcement and the sanctions available for non-compliance. The policy includes the Financial Penalty Policy under the Housing and Planning Act, Statement of Principles for determining a penalty charge under the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations and property redress scheme and Enforcement of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy

The Somerset Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Policy (2019 – 2023) sets out our vision for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in Somerset. All local authorities are required to produce a Homelessness Strategy which must set out plans for preventing homelessness and ensuring that sufficient accommodation is and will be available for people who are or may become homeless.

Please note: This strategy has been extended until March 2025.

The Homefinder Somerset Policy

The Homefinder Somerset Policy is a statutory requirement. Every housing authority must have an allocations scheme to determine housing priorities, and a procedure to be followed when allocating social housing.

The Private Rented Sector Policy

The Private Rented Sector Offer Policy details how Somerset Council can bring its statutory housing duty under section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) to an end, by making an offer of a private rented sector tenancy rather than a social housing tenancy.

The Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Allocation Policy

The Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Allocation Policy outlines how Somerset Council owned sites are allocated.

The Hinkley Housing Strategy

The Hinkley Housing Strategy (2019-2023) outlines how funding from EDF will be used to mitigate the impact of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project. The construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor is one of the largest construction projects in Europe, employing (at peak) 8,000+ workers on site. Peak construction is estimated to occur during 2023. Most of the workers are not Somerset residents, and so there is an impact on the local housing market as workers seek accommodation, particularly in the private rented sector. These pressures have been building since construction commenced and have resulted in predicted effects such as limiting availability of accommodation for residents, exacerbating rentals, and in some instances, the displacement of current tenants.

Eco Flexibly Eligibility

The Eco Flex Statement of Intent (SoI) directs ECO funding to eligible households within Somerset. This includes low income and vulnerable residents in the private sector, living either in fuel poverty or living on a low income and who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold. The SoI has been updated in accordance with the ECO 4 scheme and is administered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE).

Unlawful Evictions and Harassment Policy

The Unlawful Evictions and Harassment Policy helps identify and ensure a fast, clear and co-ordinated response to cases of harassment and unlawful eviction. The council will work with landlords and tenants to ensure that the practice of unlawful eviction and harassment are eradicated across Somerset. Unlawful eviction is normally prevented through mediation with the landlord, but the council will take enforcement action against any landlord or their agent where it is deemed appropriate to do so.

The Somerset Housing Assistance Policy

The Somerset Housing Assistance Policy (2023 – 2028) sets out how the council will offer financial help for improving and adapting homes in Somerset, together with the conditions and eligibility criteria associated with each type of assistance. The policy demonstrates the councils commitment to delivering decent, good quality homes in order to provide a wider choice of housing options to local residents. The council recognises that maintaining and improving the private sector stock reduces the pressure on other areas such as social housing. The policy aims to support disabled adults, children and other residents to improve their health and wellbeing by addressing problems with unsuitable homes that do not meet their needs.

Last reviewed: September 20, 2023 by William

Next review due: March 20, 2024

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