Happy New Year and welcome to 2011 from all at the NLA.
Twelve months ago most people would have been confident to predict that 2010 would be an eventful year for landlords.
Given the state of the economy, and the upcoming General Election, dramatic headlines were inevitable. But last year also threw up a few surprises for the PRS.
So what were the key points to remember 2010?
- LHA. Announcements of cuts abound throughout the year with the impacts to become clear as 2011 rolls-on.
- Use Class Orders & HMOs. 2010 saw multiple rounds of reform concerning HMOs and the need to obtain planning permission. The net result? A great deal of confusion – and the status quo prevails for most.
- Coalition. A little wider reaching that landlord issues and the PRS, but the annual highlights would hardly be complete without mentioning the election and the formation of the UK’s first coalition government for three decades.
But 2010 was obviously much more than a few key points....
Hardly a day went by last year without something new to occupy the NLA. Here are some of the most memorable.
- Housing Minister John Healey revealed plans to require planning permission for all new HMOs, leading to widespread concern about the availability of shared housing and condemnation by the NLA.
- NLA staff got to grips with the spring cleaning early by joining 8,000 volunteers to help tackle pollution in the River Thames.
- The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) published a ministerial statement confirming its intention to press ahead with:
- A National Register of Landlords in England and Wales
- A ‘Trip Advisor’ style website to allow tenants to rate their landlord
- The increase of the AST rental threshold from £25,000 to £100,000 pa
- Full regulation of letting and managing agents
- The NLA deemed these plans unworkable.
- The Government announced plans for “Green Loans” to incentivise energy efficient improvements to residential property.
- Alistair Darling delivered his final Budget Statement in Parliament – much of which paled into insignificance due to the imminent General Election.
- With the General Election Campaign in full swing, April was a month dominated by rhetoric rather than announcements. However, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham did take a break to lash out at the NLA in the media.
- Election Day. May saw the election of a new Coalition Government and the appointment of a new ministerial team for housing.
- Politics aside, May 2010 NLA research showed landlord confidence hit its highest level since 2007.
- New Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, confirmed to Parliament that the Coalition Government would not be implementing the proposed Landlord Register.
- Taking over the reins from Alistair Darling, Chancellor George Osborne delivered the second Budget Statement of 2010 – increasing CGT for most landlords to 28 percent.
- Former leader of the Conservative Party, now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, published a paper entitled Twenty-first Century Welfare proposing the deepest reform of the welfare state for decades.
- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, used August to open up his departmental accounts to the public to allow greater scrutiny of government spending.
- Following pressure from the NLA and industry stakeholders, Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced the reform of the previous Government’s HMO planning regulations. The NLA welcomed this return to more sensible planning requirements.
- With no pre-Budget report this year the highlight of the Treasury’s autumn was the publication of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
- November hosted the annual Carbon Monoxide awareness week, while the NLA urged landlords to ensure that their properties remain safe and any gas appliances are checked at least annually in accordance with the law.
- NLA Welcomed the Department of Energy and Climate Change announcement of proposals for a “Green Deal” to enable home-owners to access finance to make energy efficient improvements.
- Regulations to reform Local Housing Allowance ware laid before Parliament – providing authority for cuts due in 2011.
- After a number of delays, the Government ended the year with the publication of the Localism Bill – intended to decentralise powers and encourage ‘Big Society’.