There have been a couple of announcements within the Queens Speech that all landlords will need to look at. Together with a recent announcement regarding the legal rights in respect of notices which we will come onto. The Queens Speech lays out the reform that the government will lay out for parliament over the next couple of years. Obviously, a lot of legalisation has been delayed due to Brexit and Covid, but the government are now fully focused on certain areas within the next parliament to modernise some of the areas that they feel need changing.
The government have decided to bring forward measures to deal with new planning rules. These allow people to have planning applications carried out a lot quicker than what they currently are. It will in effect create zones where development will be permitted regardless of where the planning permission is granted. This will come under a planning bill. It in effect will allow laws to modernise your home without the need for full planning applications.
It is there to create a simpler, faster, and more modern planning system than the current one. Ensuring homes and infrastructure like schools and hospitals can be developed more quickly. Transforming the planning system from a slow document based one to more efficient and easier digital and map-based service.
The main benefits of the bill will be providing certainty for communities and developers. Particularly, small developers about where it is permitted to clear allocations in local planning and strong rules on design. It will provide a simpler, faster procedures for producing local development plans. Proving major schemes. Accessing environmental impacts. Negotiating affordable housing. Infrastructure contribution from developments.
It will also make a more digital system so that it will be quicker for people to deal with.
The government are keen to ensure that leasehold reform is pushed through. This basically relates to the form of ownership of flats and the historic ground rents in leasehold contracts. These require no or little value. They are going to use the competition and markets authority to investigate the miss selling in the leasehold sector. They cannot retrospectively ban ground rents but will in future ensure that developers cannot put ground rents into leases when looking to sell them.
This is going to cause the most problems for landlords in the future. The government are intent in committing to a much fairer and better deal system for renters. The government state that it will help more people to own their own home whilst enhancing those rights of those who wish to rent.
They will publish the consultation that has been raised already to reform and abolish the section 21 “no fault” evictions. This will provide more security for tenants in the private rented sector. It will also ensure that there are strengthened grounds for repossession.
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What will it mean for landlords?
In real terms it will mean that you will have to have a valid reason for wanting your property back in future. You just cannot serve a section 21 at the end of the contract. How this will work in practise no-one yet knows as there is currently no detail to the renter’s reform act whatsoever. The government we believe will bring this out later in the year but try to push it through as soon as possible.
They will provide proposals for a new lifetime tenancy deposit. This will ease the burden on tenants when moving from one property to the next. They believe it will help improve the experience of living in the rental sector. However, if a landlord wants to make claims on the deposit no-one yet knows how this will affect the lifetime deposit itself. Again, the proposals are very scant, and we are still waiting for full details.
Improvements in rented accommodation.
They are going to bring reforms to drive more improvements in standards in rented accommodation. This has already been enabled through the unfit for human habitation bill, but the government do not believe this has gone far enough. There is a new safety bill going through parliament that will relate to fire safety that will need to be improved.
Landlords will now have to be part of a redress scheme. This will ensure that any enforcement drives out criminal landlords who have not carried out the work. They may also consider a landlord register. Again, there is no decision yet if the landlords going through a letting agent and they are part of a redress scheme whether they must have their own scheme themselves. The detail is non-existent at this moment in time.
They believe that these details will be published at a white paper in the autumn with legalisation to continue thereafter.
They do believe that landlords should take the burden of dealing with any form of redress. In future therefore landlords may be required to pay compensation to tenants. Especially where they have not carried out certain works.
New notice periods.
The government changed some considerable time ago the way that landlords had to serve notice to quit being a minimum of 6 months. However, this has now changed again. The government now require notice from the 1st June of 4 months. This ensures that landlords from the 1st June have to give a minimum of 4 months’ notice.
Notice periods for most serious cases will remain lower as follows:
Anti-social behaviour – Immediate to 4 weeks’ notice
Domestic abuse in the social sector – 2-4 Weeks’ notice
False statement – 2-4 weeks’ notice
Over 4 months accumulated arrears – 4 weeks’ notice
Breech of immigration rules, right to rent – 2 weeks’ notice
Death of a tenant – 2 months’ notice
Notice period for cases where there is 4 or more months of unpaid rent were reduced to 2 months’ notice from the 1st August.
We suspect that this will not only change the notice periods again later in the year, but they will make further amendments.
Did you know that a section 8 now has to have a Breathe content to it? We did an article some time ago on the new system that relates to landlords where the tenant can ask for a period via the local authority for any proceedings to be suspended through a new scheme – Breathe. Please click here to read the article.
The government have now changed the rules, so a section 8 must detail and outline what Breathe is in order go give the tenant the opportunity to take it up if required.
This is just more red tape for landlords to deal with.
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