Queens Speech: NLA summary for the Private Rented Sector (PRS)
In the first Conservative majority Queen's Speech since 1996, Her Majesty announced over 20 Bills that the Government propose to introduce. The following Bills seem of interest to the PRS and landlords.
- Extending Right to Buy discounts to 1.3 million housing association tenants.
- Local authorities will be required to dispose of their most high-value properties.
- The Bill will also provide statutory framework for the Starter Homes programme
- Right to Build will be introduced, making it easier for individuals to build their own properties.
This Bill follows on from the Prime Minister's speech on Immigration last week.
You can see our response here, and an update (at the bottom) following clarification from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), regarding the proposal for a mandatory licensing regime.
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill:
- Devolving more powers from Whitehall to towns and counties — i.e. building the Northern Powerhouse.
- This includes providing elected mayors for combined authority areas, such as Manchester.
- These mayors will undertake the functions of Police and Crime Commissioners.
The NLA will be monitoring this Bill closely and the exact nature of powers the Government plan to devolve to elected Mayors, e.g. Housing (for example licensing powers).
Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill (and related legislation):
- To freeze the main rates of the majority of working-age benefits, tax credits and child benefit.
- Pensioners and extra costs relating to disability will be protected.
- The benefit cap will be reduced to £23,000 per year.
- Automatic entitlement to housing support for 18-21 year olds will be scrapped. Frequent reports will be required on progress towards full employment, three million apprenticeships and the status of the Troubled Families programme.
Landlords will remain interested in the roll out of Universal Credit and the removal of Housing Benefit to 18-21 year olds
Implementing the proposals of the Smith Commission.
The handing over of welfare powers may impact on those Scottish Landlords who rent to tenants who claim housing benefit.
There was one other notable piece of policy announced by Her Majesty that does not have an associated Bill, but instead will be dealt with by amending standing orders;
English votes for English laws
Her Majesty announced that changes will be made to introduce a form of English votes for English laws, known as EVEL.
This will be of future interest to landlords as housing is already a devolved matter for Wales and Scotland, so those MPs will not be able to vote on future Housing and related Bills. This will greatly increase the Government’s Commons majority over opposition parties and their subsequent ability to pass housing legislation.
The full text of the speech can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2015