Yesterday, the Government released its Levelling Up paper, set out to “transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity”. Find out about the significant changes impacting landlords and the private rental sector (PRS).
One of the most topical and expected changes listed in the document is the abolishment of Section 21 evictions. Whilst this was anticipated to be in the Renter’s Reform Bill, this change will not come as a surprise to Landlords. Currently, Section 21 allows landlords to evict tenants without any fault and circumnavigates the lengthy Section 8 eviction process. The abolishment comes as an attempt to protect tenants, and allow them to remain in their homes.
Another key announcement is the new Decent Homes Standard. The change comes after a two-part review conducted by the Social Housing White Paper. What these changes are – we don’t fully yet know. What is concerning is that landlords already need to deal with the updated EPC regulations and the costs associated with energy-efficiency improvements. Whilst the majority of landlords strive to provide the highest standard home for their tenants, applying more financial pressure to them with more requirements is the last thing we want to see.
The Government has also announced a Levelling Up Home Building Fund. This scheme is welcomed, as it promises to boost homeownership. The Government promises to provide more loans to SMEs, and focuses its development in priority areas in the UK, aiming to build more genuinely affordable social housing. Although, haven’t we heard that before?
There has also been word of the Government ‘consulting’ on a Landlord’s Register. Hopefully, this register will be an attempt to clear out any rogue landlords and clean up the market, which could be a really positive move for landlords, and mend their reputation. We know from our own research that three in five of our clients would rather ditch the term “landlord” altogether due to the bad press they have continually received. If the L-word starts to mean something more positive, then maybe this sentiment will change.
Overall, the Levelling Paper promises improvement and exciting things for the market. Our clients all strive to provide good, quality homes for their tenants, and therefore these changes shouldn’t really impact them too much. If anything, it will just prove what credible landlords they are. A lot of this paper aims to improve tenants’ rights and wellbeing, which is at the heart of what good landlords focus on.
However, we cannot ignore the abolishment of Section 21, and it’s not the best news for landlords. Not because all landlords go about evicting tenants for no reason, but because the Section 8 route is tedious, long, and stressful. Leaving Section 8 as the only option could deter many landlords from staying in the market. Landlord association iHowz commented on the “potential unintended consequences” of this abolishment, such as many landlords leaving the private rental sector “as they have little control over the behaviour of their tenants”.
We don’t have all the details yet of what this paper fully means for landlords, but we shall keep you updated as and when they come out. There is some hope, at least, in knowing that changes are being made to improve the credibility of the Landlord and the private rental sector, and it seems like there is a plan in motion.
You can view the full changes and objectives of the Levelling Up paper on the Government website here.
3rd February 2022