ODPM Press Notice

Session 2002-03  7 April 2003

Draft Housing Bill

Following the Government’s publication of the draft Housing Bill for consultation on 31 March 2003, the Select Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be carrying out pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill. The Government is undertaking a separate public consultation exercise which will run until 9 June 2003.

The publication of the draft Bill sets out specific legislation in five main areas:

• replacing existing housing fitness standards with the evidence-based Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS), as a more effective basis for enforcement against unacceptable housing conditions;

• improving controls on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) including a mandatory national licensing scheme, to tackle poor physical and management standards;

• giving local authorities powers to license all landlords in areas of low housing demand or similar areas where the growth and poor management of the private rented sector frustrates efforts to create sustainable communities;

• requiring anyone marketing a home to assemble a home information pack, so that the information needed by buyers and sellers is available when the property is marketed, and uncertainty and abortive costs are reduced;

• modernising the Right to Buy Scheme by tackling profiteering and emphasising purchaser’s responsibilities so it contributes more effectively to supply of affordable housing.

The draft Bill is an important and complicated piece of legislation. As part of its scrutiny, the Committee will be examining the case to be made for the inclusion in the Housing Bill of legislation on other areas.

Further details of the draft Bill can be found on the Department’s website at


A Committee webpage on the draft Bill will be accessible from 10 April at:


This webpage will draw together many of the resources on the draft Bill, as well as providing information about the Committee’s pre-legislative programme when available.

The Committee is seeking submissions of written evidence by 15 May 2003. The Committee is happy to accept advance copies of intended submissions to the ODPM’s consultation exercise, or copies of submissions formally made to the Committee. Decisions about who to call to give oral evidence are likely to be taken on the basis of the evidence received by the above date.

Evidence should be sent to the Clerk, Committee Office, Office Of the Deputy Prime Minister Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA, in electronic version in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to odpmcom@parliament.uk or on a disk accompanying the hard copy; those without access to a computer are respectfully requested to take particular care that submissions are legible.Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

It is expected that oral evidence sessions will be held in June. Witnesses will be announced in due course.

Contact: Kate Emms, Clerk  020 7 219 3927