Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the NLA - July 2019

 

What is the government doing?

The month of July typically sees Westminster slow down in preparation for the long summer recess, but this year is somewhat unique. The corridors of power seem possessed by a strange combination of both furious commotion, and almost complete inaction.

We are experiencing a curious moment in history whereby the UK has one failed government, two governments in waiting, and an alternative government in opposition. None of the four have the authority to do anything meaningful – but all want to put forward their respective case.

For instance, in the last few weeks Theresa May has continued her campaign to secure a legacy by:

  • Reaffirming her commitment to removing Section 21 and to review the court process for possession cases
  • Announced the Government’s intention to ‘explore’ the passporting of tenancy deposits
  • Banning leasehold on newbuild houses; and
  • Proposing more tinkering with the planning system

At the same time the Labour Party has seen MHCLG’s proposal to limit leasehold, and raised their own proposal for wholesale reform and the widening of commonhold as part of their ‘New Deal for Leasehold’. This followed hot on the heels of Mr Corbyn’s announcement that a Labour government would introduce a ‘progressive’ property tax to be paid by property owners, rather than their tenants. The policy paper, ‘Land for the Many’ also recommended further measures to protect private tenants by making grounds for possession “more limited than they are under the reformed system in Scotland”. I look forward to discussing this with the Labour housing team when I meet them next week.

What is the NLA doing?

In an effort to get the NLA’s message in front of as many potential ministers and opinion formers as possible during this period of uncertainty, this week we published an article to the influential political news website Conservative Home outlining landlords concerns about current government housing policy.

We also made significant inroads in gaining government support for the NLA in our fight against unfair treatment of landlords by local councils, as illustrated in relation to our work in Hull.

Outside of Westminster life goes on unabated, and to that end the Government in Wales has announced a consultation on extending the hypothetical notice period on the still yet to be introduced standard contract set to replace the AST at some point in the future. 

The Welsh Assembly also continued its inquiry into empty homes in the principality, to which NLA Policy Officer Gavin Dick gave evidence, available to watch here.

Finally, we are working with the ministry of housing to help refine building management and safety policy to ensure that it best reflects the needs of landlords and residents. As such we would like to hear from landlords of leasehold flats and apartments about how you raise awareness of safety issues and encourage your tenants to comply with what is required in particular buildings. If you have any stories to tell or experience (good or bad) please email us at policy@landlords.org.uk making sure to include ‘building safety’ in the subject line.

 

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12 July 2019 - 10:17am

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