Specialised Supported Housing – an integral part of the future of health and social care – Part 2

In this, part 2 of our 5 part series of articles, Paul Russell, a Partner in our Commercial Property team, takes a more in depth look at what Specialised Supported Housing is.

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Specialised Supported Housing – an integral part of the future of health and social care – Part 2

In this, part 2 of our 5 part series of articles, Paul Russell, a Partner in our Commercial Property team, takes a more in depth look at what Specialised Supported Housing is.

The term Supported Housing covers a broad range of housing for residents who, generally speaking, require a degree of personal care, assistance or supervision.

The accommodation can range from general needs accommodation to shared homes, hostels, refuges and even specially designed complexes. It differentiates itself from more traditional types of housing because of the particular needs and demands of the user group (often elderly and/or vulnerable residents) and the specific adaptations and modifications that are often required to ensure that the residents get the best opportunity to maximise the control and quality they have over their own lives.

It is no surprise that in most cases Supported Housing demand higher running costs because of the partnerships required to keep them up and running as well as specific property adaptations and even location. Against a climate of reform and general austerity across the board, the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 has obligated social landlords to reduce their rents on social housing (Supported Housing) schemes by 1% per year from April 2016 for a four-year period.

“Specialised” Supported Housing was exempted from the rent reductions and the reasons given by the Government for the exemption relate specifically to very definition of the accommodation itself. Specialised Supported Housing is defined in the Social Housing Rents (Exceptions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulation 2016 as Supported Housing:

a) which is designed, structurally altered, refurbished or designated for occupation by, and made available to, residents who require specialised services or support in order to enable them to live, or to adjust to living, independently within the community,
b) which offers a high level of support, which approximates to the services or support which would be provided in a care home, for residents for whom the only acceptable alternative would be a care home,
c) which is provided by a private registered provider under an agreement or arrangement with—
a. a local authority, or
b. the health service within the meaning of the National Health Service Act 2006(11),
d) in respect of which the rent charged or to be charged complies with the agreement or arrangement mentioned in paragraph (c), and
e) in respect of which either—
a. there was no public assistance, or
b. if there was public assistance, it was by means of a loan secured by means of a charge or a mortgage against a property.

If we look more closely at the detail here, we can perhaps begin to understand why the provision of this type of Supported Housing was exempted from the obligations to reduce rents.

This type of accommodation is very specific in its impact and effect. Terminology used in the legislation such as “specialised services” and “high level of support” go to the very heart of what the provision of this type of accommodation is aimed at and it is clear that it is aimed at residents who have complex care and welfare needs but the drive is to provide a high level of support to them in order to offer them community living.

In short, this accommodation is provided as the only acceptable alternative to a care home. The Government felt that the distinction in this very specific type of accommodation was such that it would not be economically sound to apply the rent reductions and would also not improve the wellbeing of the residents who may otherwise have had to remain in care home accommodation.

If you have any queries about social housing from either a landlord or tenant’s perspective, please email paul.russell@keeebles.com or call Paul on 0114 252 1409.

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