Leasehold reform and Renters’ Rights are at the heart of the King’s Speech today
The legislative agenda, the first to be delivered by King Charles will mark the final session of parliament before the next general election.
Please see comments from our Legal Property Experts:
Leasehold Reform- comments from Jeremy Raj, Head of Residential Property at Irwin Mitchell
“It’s difficult to imagine that anything of significance will be achieved following today’s announcement, other than further irritating certain MPs with unrealistic expectations, along with all the vested interest groups within the residential property sector. This includes those proclaiming the need to abolish a ‘feudal system’, those wanting certainty and a better way to structure new developments, those wanting significantly greater protections from abuse for leaseholders, and those wanting to protect and realise their investments.
"Last but not least, it also disappoints those of us who have been hoping for many years now for a co-ordinated and fundamental overhaul of the areas that have let leasehold down as a system of tenure, and who believe a better way (absolutely not commonhold) is well within our capabilities.
"None of today’s proposals deal with the fundamental issues troubling the housing market, such as lack of supply, uncertainty regarding future regulation, unsuitable stock for our environmental ambitions and our population profile, and of course the affordability crisis.”
Renters’ Reform Bill- comments from George Cohen, Associate Solicitor in the Real Estate Disputes Team at Irwin Mitchell
“It does now appear that the Government is committed to passing the Renters Reform Bill before the next general election. After persistent contradictory comments from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Government seems intent on pushing it through.
"Despite the Government’s persistence, it remains to be seen how viable it will be to enact the legislation in the near future. As per the response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s fifth report, the Government confirmed that it does not intend to proceed with the abolition of Section 21, until Court reforms have taken place.
"The Government obviously thinks that it can proceed with this swiftly, but it is difficult to see how this significant undertaking can be achieved in the foreseeable future. That said the Renters Reform Bill could be passed before the Court reforms are complete, because most of the key changes in the Bill will only be enacted by future regulations. The legislation could therefore be finalised and enacted, with sufficient time to implement court reforms before the regime actually comes into force.
"In the meantime, the Government has demonstrated some flexibility with the Bill in response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s fifth report. For example, the Government has accepted comments that the student housing market will need to retain the expectation of short-term lets. The Government has not been convinced to keep fixed-term tenancies, but instead, will include a new ground for possession to facilitate the yearly cycle of student lets. It remains to be seen exactly how the new ground will operate, and whether it will satisfy the concerns of those in the student housing market.”