The Queen’s Speech: Changes ahead?
The Queen’s speech has revealed plans for a radical reform of the rental sector in England, with a focus on the removal of no-fault evictions, a new Landlord Ombudsman Scheme and plans to allow residents to be more involved in local development along with simplifying and standardising the planning process.
Although the initial speech, delivered by Prince Charles – deputising for Her Majesty – made only superficial mention of housing and planning, details released just after clarified the Government’s plans.
So, what were the important points?
Firstly, The Renters Reform Bill is set to roll out a range of measure aimed at making the private rental sector fairer, these include:
– Abolition of so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, meaning landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without a reason.
– Local councils will be given more effective tools to clamp down on ‘rogue landlords’
– A new property portal will be introduced to allow tenants to view performance information on their landlord.
– The Introduction of a new Ombudsman for private landlords “so that disputes can easily be resolved without the need to go to court, which is often costly and lengthy, and ensure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take action to put things right”
The Renters Reform Bill will ban landlords in England from issuing ‘no-fault’ evictions through Section 21, giving tenants more protection from being forced to leave a property even if they have done nothing wrong and giving them more rights if they are told to leave despite complying with the terms of the tenancy agreement.
In addition, a new property portal will be introduced to allow tenants to view performance information about their landlord and make landlords more aware of their responsibilities and accountability, with the new Ombudsman for private landlords stepping in to deal with any disputes.
The government is also forging ahead with plans to improve living conditions for people living in social and private rented housing by introducing new Tenant Satisfaction Measures via The Social Housing Regeneration Bill. It will also ensure that the Regulator of Social Housing is able to inspect properties and act as a watchdog on standards. Further to this, the legally binding Decent Homes Standard will be applied to the private rented sector for the first time, to give tenants safer, better quality and better value homes.
Alongside these measures, the government plans to give local councils more effective tools to enable them to crack down on ‘rogue landlords’ as part of a campaign to half the number of unacceptable rental homes by 2030.
Although these measures are set to give tenants greater power and rights in the case of evictions, additional measures will be put in place to introduce a stronger legal framework for landlords to allow them to regain their properties in cases of repeated rent arrears and reduced notice periods for cases of anti-social behaviour.
A third bill is set to allow residents to be more involved in local developments. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill includes measures to reform the planning system to make it simpler and more standardised, so that local plans can be produced more quickly and be easier for local communities to influence.
The changes are expected to ensure that new developments are attractive, environmentally friendly and include affordable housing. They will also include a new levy on developments, set locally, which will be used to pay for additional infrastructure in the local area, such as schools, housing, GP surgeries and road networks.
New build homes come further into focus, with The Leasehold Reform Act 2022 set to stop landlords requiring ground rent for new long residential leases. It will also mean banning new leasehold houses to ensure that all new houses built are freehold.
Although this is a very brief overview of the planned changes on the horizon, the Government is pushing ahead at pace, with The Leasehold Reform Act 2022 due to come into force on the 30th of June, and a white paper due to be issued imminently.
You can find out more about the Queen’s Speech in detail here.
If you need any advice about the rental market, how the changes might affect you or about any aspect of the Lettings process, just get in touch with the team at Hannells Lettings.