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Kings Speech- Leasehold and Rental Reform

Whilst we’re interested in the history of property and land, at Newport Land and Law, we also keep a keen eye on the significant changes in the legal landscape. Charles III has had his first crack at a King’s Speech and property was very much on the agenda. Here is our (hopefully straightforward) precis:

The Renters (Reform) Bill, as outlined in the 2023 King’s Speech, and the announced Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will bring significant changes to the UK’s property landscape.

Renters (Reform) Bill

The Renters (Reform) Bill aims to deliver a better deal for renters, with key features including​​:

  • Abolishing ‘No Fault’ Evictions: The bill will abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, shifting to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic, enhancing security for tenants​​.
  • Improved Decency Standards: Nearly a quarter of private rented homes do not meet basic decency standards. The government intends to legislate to apply a Decent Homes Standard​​.
  • Support for Responsible Landlords: While protecting tenants from unfair practices, the bill also seeks to support landlords, ensuring they can repossess their property in cases of anti-social behaviour or repeat rent arrears​​.
  • Private Rented Sector Ombudsman: A new ombudsman will offer resolution to disputes, aiming to be quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system​​.
  • Privately Rented Property Portal: To help landlords understand their legal obligations and support councils in targeting enforcement where needed​​.
  • Right to Request Pets: Tenants will have the right to request a pet in the property, which landlords cannot unreasonably refuse. Landlords can require pet insurance to cover potential damages​​.

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will bring about the following changes​​:

  • Ban on New Leasehold Houses: New leasehold houses will be banned in England and Wales, although this does not apply to new flats.
  • Easier Lease Extensions and Freehold Purchases: Making it cheaper and more straightforward for leaseholders in houses and flats to extend their lease or buy the freehold.
  • Longer Lease Extensions and £0 Ground Rent: Increasing the standard lease extension term from 90 to 990 years for houses and flats, with ground rent reduced to £0.
  • Quicker and Easier Leasehold Transactions: Setting a maximum time and fee for the provision of information by the freeholder to leaseholders.
  • Transparency in Service Charges and Admin Fees: Ensuring transparency over leaseholders’ service charges and replacing buildings insurance commissions with transparent admin fees.
  • Redress Schemes and Legal Cost Protections: Extending access to redress schemes for leaseholders and scrapping the presumption for leaseholders to pay freeholders’ legal costs when challenging poor practice.
  • Freehold Homeowners’ Rights: Granting freehold homeowners on private and mixed-tenure estates the same rights of redress as leaseholders.
  • Building Safety Act 2022 Enforcement: Building on the legislation to ensure freeholders and developers are responsible for funding building remediation work.
  • Increased Threshold for Non-Residential Floorspace: Allowing leaseholders in buildings with up to 50% non-residential floorspace to buy their freehold or take over its management.

Implications: In Summary

These reforms are intended to represent a shift towards greater fairness and protection for both tenants and leaseholders. For tenants, the reforms promise more security, higher living standards, and better mechanisms for dispute resolution. For leaseholders, the reforms aim to make the leasehold system more transparent and less burdensome, particularly concerning costs, rights, and property management. These changes are poised to reshape the rental market and leasehold system, making them more equitable and user-friendly.

These changes are like a new chapter in a long-running series – intriguing, but the full story is yet to unfold (and the politically cynical amongst us wonder whether they will unfold at all). We remain committed to guiding our clients through these evolving landscapes with clarity and insight, one conversation at a time.

A Closer Look at Leasehold and Rental Law Reforms: The UK’s Online Reaction

Welcome, readers. Let’s take a stroll through the digital landscape to gauge reactions to the recent changes in leasehold and rental laws.

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill has certainly set tongues wagging. . The proposal to ban new leasehold houses and simplify lease extensions is seen as a significant step. However, the exclusion of flats from this ban and the introduction of a 990-year lease extension has raised eyebrows. It’s a bit like being offered a cup of tea but without a biscuit – satisfying yet lacking in general dunk.

Moving on to the Renters (Reform) Bill, opinions are as varied as English weather. Tenants are generally elated, envisioning a future of enhanced security and fairness. However, landlords’ express apprehension, concerned about the potential complexities of evicting troublesome tenants. It’s reminiscent of a classic cricket match – thrilling for some, while others dread a sticky wicket.

The online community presents a diverse tableau of opinions. There’s an air of cautious optimism, mingled with a healthy dose of scepticism about the practical implementation of these reforms.

Here at Newport Land and Law, we believe in keeping a keen eye on these developments. These changes are like a new chapter in a long-running series – intriguing, but the full story is yet to unfold. We remain committed to guiding our clients through these evolving landscapes with clarity and insight, one conversation at a time.

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