A raft of property legislation to be enacted during the coming parliament has been revealed during the Queen’s Speech today.
This includes modernising the planning system to enable more homes to be built, more help for first time buyers, and a promise to ‘enhance the rights of those who rent’, a reference to the yet-to-be introduced Renters Reform Bill.
Her Majesty also said that the practice of excessive ground rent increases by freeholders would be banned for new leasehold properties, a promise Boris Johnson had already outlined earlier this year.
A building safety regular will also be established in law “to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated”, the monarch said.
“The planning reforms are the largest shake-up of the planning system for many years,” says Tracy Burtwel of SearchFlow (pictured).
“A large aspect of the proposals that were published in the Government’s consultation whitepaper last year focused on an increasing use of digital technology and data to make planning more accessible to all.
“This will be a major step forward in not only modernising planning but in standardising processes to make it easier and faster for stakeholders from across the wider property industry to access the latest information on planning applications and local plans – an imperative for property lawyers and conveyancers. We are interested in hearing the specifics of the reforms and the timescales for change, in due course.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ‘The government seems to have finally recognised what we have noticed for many years – that is, the strong connection between home ownership and rental with political allegiance. The government seems to want to help both groups; on the one hand, advocating reform of the planning system which would speed up delivery of new homes, while on the other, helping tenants to avoid no-fault evictions and benefit from lifetime deposits, making moves between properties less expensive.
“However, with all these announcements the devil is always in the detail. We don’t know yet how these reforms will be enacted so it is difficult to comment specifically until more information is to hand. In particular, we still need to see the delivery of affordable homes for rent and for sale in those areas where most people want to live, as well as protections for those who choose longer-term rental. Such measures can only benefit longer-term economic recovery.”
“A greater supply of homes will serve to correct the imbalance between supply and demand which has been intensified by the stamp duty holiday,” says Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor, Propertymark.
“The government has made a number of announcements in the past on simplifying the planning process, however this will only work if it really reflects local needs and demands.
“We hope the Planning Bill outlined today encourages the development of housing in more affordable areas, as at the moment, most of the development taking place is in areas that are unaffordable to first-time and lower income buyers.
“The re-announcement of measures being taken to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold properties in today’s Queen’s Speech is encouraging to see. The issue of escalating ground rent on leasehold homes has been a long term scandal which has left many owners trapped and unable to sell their homes.”
Landlords and letting agents hoping that the banning of Section 21 notice evictions had been kicked into the long grass may be disappointed, as the Queen’s reference to enhance renters’ rights means the launch of Renters Reform Bill will happen this year, two years after it was first revealed.