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What is the 'Levelling Up' White Paper and what does it mean for Landlords?

View profile for Will Bartley
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What is the Levelling Up White Paper and what does it mean for Landlords?

Housing Secretary Michael Gove announced the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper yesterday, which will attempt to “change the economic model of this country”.

Landlord & Tenant specialist Will Bartley details what will be included in the White Paper and discusses the key takeaways for landlords below.

UPDATE The Queen's Speech provided further clarification on the Whitepaper, including more information on the abolition of S21 evictions, the Decent Homes Standard and the Landlord's Register. Click here to read our updated article.

What does the levelling up White Paper include?

The White Paper will be published in the spring and will include ‘12 missions’ - economic targets to be achieved by 2030.

Of these missions, we’ve listed those that will affect landlords the most below…

Section 21 evictions to be abolished

‘No fault’ Section 21 evictions will be scrapped – meaning that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants for no reason.

Landlords will be required to provide a ‘concrete and evidenced reason’ to end a tenancy.

We are yet to hear when this will come into force but will likely know when the White Paper is published in the spring. As always, we’ll keep you updated if we hear anything.

Make sure to subscribe to our Landlord & Tenant Newsletter here to receive our updates.

What does the abolition of Section 21 evictions mean for landlords?

Will Bartley says: “This news will not be received fondly by many landlords, who have historically relied on S21 Notices and evictions to regain possession of their property when they need to sell it or move back into it.

It is yet to be seen if the grounds under S8 will be relaxed to incorporate the two scenarios above.

There is a fear that this will make landlords more reluctant to let properties to tenants, increasing rents, and that landlords will be far more rigorous in their vetting process as to who they let their property to.”

Will a Landlords Register be introduced?

Ministers will consider the introduction of a Landlords Register, but nothing has been put in place yet.

We are unsure if or when this might be introduced.

But, it is thought that, if introduced, the register will likely include measures such as:

  • It being mandatory for landlords to join the redress scheme
  • Landlords having to improve energy efficiency in some 800,000 properties which failed ‘safe, warm and in a good state of repair’ criteria.

This is however a further potential measure that will put landlords off, as it is clear that the initiative behind it is to hold landlords more accountable for their properties.

In respect of tenants, this would be a welcome move to help increase the standard of living and accountability of landlords throughout the Country.

You can read the latest electrical safety regulations here.

We’ll keep you updated, through our email list, regarding this potential landlord’s register.

What else was announced?

Decent Homes Standard

All homes in the private rented sector will have to meet the Decent Homes Standard.

This is a minimum standard of housing conditions for the public sector (e.g. council housing).

The 80/20 rule will be scrapped

The rule which states that 80% of funding for housing supply goes to ‘maximum affordability areas’ – mainly the South East – will be scrapped.

Crackdown on ‘rogue landlords’

Further measures will be introduced to crackdown on ‘rogue landlords’, this will likely include fines and bans.

Levelling Up Homes

A £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund will be launched.

This will provide loans to SMEs and will support wider regeneration.

A specialist Landlord & Tenant Solicitor’s View

Specialist solicitor Will Bartley says: “These measures have been rumoured for years, however it is clear that firm steps are being taken to ensure that they come to fruition.

Tenants will be pleased, as will Housing charities such as Shelter, as landlords will be more accountable and the quality of housing will improve.

However, this is likely to have a significant financial impact on landlords, some of whom will be looking to avoid a landlord register and who will be very reluctant to let their properties to tenants with no guarantee of recovering possession of it for many years.

We will see how the Government will balance these concerns in the coming months.”

Landlord & Tenant and Property Litigation Advice

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