Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech included the government’s promised property sector measures that will turn its campaign promises into law.
These include a Renter’s Reform Bill which will abolish Section 21 eviction notices to ‘protect tenants’ and local discounts for first time buyers, which the government says will be achieved by enabling councils to use developers’ contributions via the planning process to discount homes by a third.
This scheme will be targeted at local people who cannot otherwise afford to buy a home in their area including key workers such as police, nurses and teachers.
The Queen’s Speech also included a promise to reform the UK’s eye-wateringly expensive business rates. These have been a significant factor in persuading some agents to merge branches or withdraw entirely from the high street.
But it also revealed that the government is to plough ahead with its reform of evictions despite strong opposition from letting agents and landlords.
Both ARLA, the NLA and the RLA have all pointed out that abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions will push the process entirely into the court system, increasing both the expense and time spent evicting rogue tenants.
Other measures due to become law over the next five years include the latest AML regulations, rental deposit ‘passporting’, greater rights to redress for tenants if their homes fall below minimum quality and safety standards and expand the current database of rogue landlords and lettings agents, reforms to leaseholds and shared ownership and the professionalisation of the industry through the implement of Lord Best’s RoPA report.
But one manifesto promise was missing from the speech; the introduction of fixed-rate long term mortgages for first time buyers.
But alternative deposits platform Flatfair has said the idea of tenant passporting is flawed. “For one, tenants still need to secure a large lump sum when they start renting. Landlords are also not properly protected by the system between tenancies, especially in cases where the deductions are required or where there is a higher rent at the second property,” says its CEO Franz Doerr.
“We now have the technology to provide a better service, allowing tenants to rent without a deposit while also protecting landlords from any damages. We created a system that replicates the hotel check-in process where you simply swipe your card and no money changes hands. The next Government should double down on supporting existing solutions that are harnessing tech to transform renting and real estate more broadly.”