It certainly was a very different Queen’s Speech this year, as she handed the baton over to Prince Charles who led proceedings in her place. Given the policies introduced last year, this year’s Speech was relatively quiet.
However, it was not silent on reforms that will affect property investors and as your local expert, I thought I’d give a brief summary of what was introduced along with my thoughts. As usual, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on these changes.
Lifetime Deposits… Scrapped
Well. This was relatively unexpected! I first wrote about lifetime deposits along with the renter’s reform bill in November 2021 (and subsequent levelling up rehash in February this year) and the deposits were aimed at helping tenants move with a ‘portable deposit’ that moves from property to property throughout their life.
However, briefing notes from the Queen’s Speech outlines that lifetime deposits are now off the table for the time being.
Landlord Register… Off The Table
Again, my article about the renters’ reform bill in November 2021 outlined potential proposals to include a national landlord register. I think that this would be a good idea, however how it would be compiled (and then policed) was beyond a reality I could see.
Well, along with lifetime deposits, proposals for the creation of a national landlord register scheme in England also appear to have been put on hold. You may recall that this was dropped in the levelling up paper as well.
To be honest, it’s no real surprise given how only 12% of councils police EPC certificates for the private rented sector!
Scrapping Of Section 21 Evictions
This proposal appears to be nearly the only consistent headline in most housing reform papers and it’s probably no surprise that it appeared in the Queen’s Speech.
Interestingly, the phrase ‘scrapping’ is used a lot, but what is being looked at is reforming possession grounds so that stronger powers are in place for things such as repeated rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.
It will be interesting to see the full proposals from this when they come out!
Decent Homes Standard
This was introduced along with the levelling up paper earlier in the year and certainly, the proposal should help tenants living in properties owned by rogue landlords.
The full details are yet to be seen; however, they will include a legally binding Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector. Let’s see what this includes!
Private Landlords Ombudsman
You’ve probably read about a right to redress for the private rented sector, and this could be a glimpse into what this may look like.
The private ombudsman for private landlords will also be there to help landlords resolve disputes without the need to go to court. With a huge backlog of court hearings following the COVID—19 shutdowns, this could be an attempt to help ease this.
Introduction Of A Property Portal
I’m not entirely sure about this, however, from reading around the proposals this looks like it could be a step forward from the How to Rent Guide for tenants.
The property portal would be available for landlords to understand their obligations and tenants to hold their landlord to account. It would also aid local authorities with their responsibilities.
Surely this sounds like it has the potential of introducing a national landlord register by stealth?!
The Queen’s Speech outlined that the planning sector will undergo reforms as part of the levelling up paper and the full details are yet to be seen, but interestingly one point that can be pulled out is how neighbours may have the right to vote on whether planning permission is given for developments (including extensions) on their street!
I’m not entirely sure how this would work in practice, however, as homeowners can already have a say in planning applications local to them. I will be keeping a close eye on this one as it may have a big impact for property investors.
What do I think about these proposals? I don’t really think that there’s much new material and we do seem to now be repeating existing proposals again and again!
What doesn’t seem to have appeared was anything about proposed changes to EPC requirements for the private rented sector. With the proposal currently outlining that all new tenancies be a minimum of EPC grade C by 2025, time is running out on this deadline.
Called a thin Queen’s Speech, I’m sure you will agree! We do seem to be bouncing around with proposals popping up and then disappearing along with other proposals being rehashed under a different name.
Lifetime Deposits Scrapped & More – Queen’s Speech Analysis