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The Queens Speech

15.05.22

In the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, the issue of housing was given prominence. Standing in for his mother, Prince Charles ran through the legislation that the Government intends to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session and there was not one, two, but three significant commitments to housing.

The Renters’ Reform Bill which will end unfair evictions? Present and correct. Ditto the Social Housing Regulation Bill which will give tenants more rights, plus vital reforms to the way leasehold homeownership works.

Quite right given the scale of the housing crisis in this country: millions of people are living in unstable and unaffordable privately rented homes, hundreds of thousands of social homes do not meet basic health and safety standards, the number of people waiting for social housing has now been hovering at around a million for years. And, for too long, the leasehold/freehold system has meant that leasehold homeowners in England, where there are around 4.6 million leasehold homes, face huge ground rent bills and eye-watering costs to extend lease.

Camilla Dell, Founder and Managing Partner at Black Brick Property Solutions comments on yesterday’s Queen’s Speech. “The implementation of legislation to protect tenants is one of the most relevant topics covered in the Queen’s Speech. Although the full details are yet to be fully announced, the indication is that landlords will be unable to evict tenants. For example, if a landlord and tenant are unable to agree on terms of renewal, the landlord will be unable to evict their current tenant to replace them with a new higher paying tenant. This would be enforced to protect tenants, but as a by-product, landlords will end up on the back foot.

“I predict these changes will also have unintended consequences for tenants, as even more landlords exit the buy-to-let market, thereby reducing stock levels, resulting in higher prices and less choice. It’s unfortunate, because I believe landlords have been painted as the villains in this scenario, when many of the problems are down to a few “rogue” landlords. It will also be interesting to see if the new rules also apply to higher priced rental property outside of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Act.”

Caspar Harvard-Walls, Partner at Black Brick Property Solutions explains how the new planned legislation regarding planning permission and local input on these issues could have an impact. “The biggest issue, in my opinion, remains our inability to consistently build enough new homes of the right size and price point to satisfy the ever-growing demand. The previous Housing Secretary suggested we would miss our target of 300,000 new homes per year “by a country mile”. Asking streets to vote on whether their neighbour can build an extension is all well and good, but it is distracting us from the core reasons why successive governments aren’t able to build enough homes for the people who live in this country and specifically those in our society who have genuine need.”

www.black-brick.com

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