Katherine Stribling, 15 November 2023
On the 7th of November 2023, the King addressed the nation to outline the government’s vision for the future. During his speech, he set out one of many legislative agendas, two of which that will continue the reform of the housing market through the introduction of a new Leasehold and Freehold Bill and also the introduction of further additions to the Renters (Reform) Bill.
It is important to note that the term “Bill” which is used during this article is defined as a proposal for a new law or to change an existing law. The proposed Bill will be presented and debated before parliament before it can pass as a law.
The Renters (Reform) Bill
The introduction of this Bill will look to deliver more security and value for tenants, while enabling landlords to reclaim their property when necessary and will prove the Government’s commitment to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions.
The key points made from the Renters (Reform) Bill are as follows:
1. End of ‘No Fault’ Evictions: The bill seeks to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions, specifically section 21 notices. However, the implementation of this change will await the establishment of stronger possession grounds and a revamped court process.
2. Strengthened Landlord Grounds: Landlords will benefit from new compulsory grounds for possession, reinforcing their ability to regain possession when justified.
3. Eviction of Anti-Social Tenants: The Bill aims to grant stronger powers to landlords for evicting anti-social tenants, significantly reducing the delay in the eviction process.
4. Pet Ownership Rights: Tenants will have the right to request pet ownership, and landlords cannot unreasonably refuse, fostering a more pet-friendly environment in rental properties.
5. Digital Property Portal: Introducing a digital Private Rented Property Portal to consolidate crucial information for landlords, tenants, and councils, streamlining communication and transparency.
6. Private Rented Sector Ombudsman: A new Ombudsman will be established to facilitate faster and more cost-effective dispute resolutions in the case of disagreements.
Leasehold and Freehold Bill
The Government stated it is relaxing the regulations and restrictions around leaseholds through the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill. This will seek to address long-standing issues in the property sector, offering solutions that are intended to empower leaseholders, improve consumer rights, and reform the leasehold market.
The key points from the Leasehold and Freehold Bill are:
• Lease Term Extension: Extending lease terms to an impressive 990 years with zero ground rent, providing leaseholders with enhanced security and reduced future expenses.
• Ownership Requirement Waiver: Removing the two-year ownership requirement for benefits, expediting the process of securing freehold ownership or a 990-year lease extension.
• Increased ‘Non-Residential’ Limit: Raising the 25% ‘non-residential’ limit for freehold acquisition to 50%, broadening opportunities for leaseholders in mixed-use buildings.
• Transparency in Service Charges: Ensuring clear, comparable formats for service charges to empower leaseholders to challenge unreasonable fees.
• Insurance Commission Reform: Replacing insurance commissions with clear administration fees to prevent excessive charges on top of premiums.
• Extended Rights and Protections: Extending rights and protections for freehold homeowners, ensuring transparency over charges and access to redress schemes.
• Developer Responsibility: Ensuring developers fund building remediation work, safeguarding homeowners from unexpected remediation costs.
• Ban on New Leasehold Houses: New houses will be freehold by default, offering security for new homeowners.
The upcoming Autumn Statement, set to be unveiled on November 22, promises to offer enhanced insight into the government’s key priorities and financial support initiatives. The proposed bills, notably those impacting the property sector, signify a significant transformation. Our team of property experts are diligently monitoring these developments to ensure that we deliver the most up-to-date and comprehensive information and support to our clients. Stay tuned for valuable updates as we navigate through the evolving fiscal landscape.
Katherine is a paralegal in our commercial property department in our Whiteladies Road office. To discuss how Katherine and our property team can assist with any property issues, please contact us on 0117 9733 989 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org