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What does the Queen's speech 2022 mean for the property sector?

11th May 2022

Category: Property headlines

On Tuesday 10th May the government set out their agenda for the parliamentary year ahead. Several of these plans will have an impact on the property sector. Here's what we know so far...

Renters Reform Bill

It was highly anticipated that the government would be delivering on their 2019 manifesto commitment to reform the private rental sector (PRS) in this Queen's speech, having delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the housing sector. The Renters Reform Bill is being sold as the biggest change to renters law in a generation and promises to improve the lives of millions of renters by driving up standards in the private and social rented sectors.

The government's broad aims for this 'New Deal' are:

  • To drive up the quality of homes in the PRS. It plans to do this by applying the Decent Homes Standard (currently in place in social housing) to the PRS.
  • To ensure greater security of tenure for tenants. It plans to do this by abolishing Section 21 notices (the so-called 'no fault' eviction).
  • To strengthen landlords' grounds for repossession and make it easier to evict tenants who are wilfully not paying rent or who are engaging in anti social behaviour. It plans to do this by introducing stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
  • To enable private renters and landlords to settle disputes quickly and at a low cost. It plans to do this by creating a new Private Renters Ombudsman.
  • To give both tenants and landlords a greater ability to understand the obligations of landlords in the PRS. It plans to do this by creating a new property portal holding property performance information.

The government states that it will be publishing a White Paper setting out more details on their proposals shortly, so watch this space! For now, you can read more about the proposals here.

Cost of Living and Levelling Up

Landlords and tenants alike will have been eagerly anticipating measures to help deal with the looming cost of living crisis. The most recent Budget set out some specific measures with this in mind, including boosting the National Living Wage, increasing the National Insurance Threshold and giving a council tax rebate to A-D band properties. There were no specific new support measures introduced beyond those previously promised.

The government has instead reported that their primary aim is to tackle the cost of living crisis by introducing a range of measures to help grow the economy and 'Level Up' the country.

A key part of the 'levelling up' plan is to regenerate disadvantaged areas by boosting productivity, pay, jobs and living standards and improving public services. To do this the government has proposed a 'Regeneration Bill' which it hopes will give local leaders stronger powers to drive improvements in their communities. This includes a plan to regenerate highstreets by giving local councils the power to instigate rental auctions of vacant commercial properties, thus forcing landlords to rent out empty spaces. It also plans to give local residents more involvement in local development.

The current lack of supply in both the rental and sales markets is an ongoing issue for anyone wanting to move home. It is therefore vital that when considering the planning system the government prioritises quality housing supply and that this Bill carefully assesses where homes are needed most.

Leasehold Reform

The government have previously committed to strengthening the rights of leaseholders. The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 will come in to force on the 30th June. This will prevent landlords from requiring ground rent in most new long residential leases. Building on this, the government have said that they will make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to extend their leases or buy their freeholds, and easier and simpler to take control of the management of their building. It also states that it will ban all new leasehold houses so that all new houses are freehold from the outset, other than in exceptional circumstances.

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