What does The Queen’s Speech mean for property?
It may have been Prince Charles sitting in for his mother yesterday, but information about the future focus of Her Majesty’s government was still forthcoming.
Among a large number of bills and points of focus were the following:
The Social Housing Regulation Bill is a tenant-centric push to give those in the social housing vertical more rights and more leverage over their landlords. It is ironic that much of the impetus for this comes from the Grenfell inquiry, with the flats themselves being under the control of a local London council. So, in a way is the government looking to regulate itself?
Errant landlords will now be measured against a yet to be introduced scale of minimum performance, to attempt to bring rogue landlords in line. From my point of view, the government still has a very selective and poor understanding of the role and function of landlords.
There will be new initiatives where emergency maintenance can be ‘forced’ on landlords so that property adheres to acceptable criteria for rented accommodation, with the Regulator of Social Housing being given the whip hand to determine if intervention is required.
Section-21, the so-called no-fault eviction mechanism, is to repealed. If it comes to pass, this will mean that landlords can not just get their tenants out on a whim. Again, whilst this may be a populist piece of legislation that will warm the hearts of tenants, in reality, Section-21 was used to extricate problem tenants, rather than for any other reason.
The big problem for the government will be to put together new powers that allow landlords to deal with their property assets and tenancies once this legislation is repealed.
Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – This part of the Queen’s speech was vague, there was talk of further monetising the planning opportunities, the need to re-draw the shape of the present Section -106 agreements, and the need to galvanise the local planning authorities.
Given that planning and new home building is central to any government’s policy, it is strange that there was not more detail on this point. But with only two years before the next election, the reality is that Gove will be halfway through all of this before he parachutes into another position, or there is a switch of party running the country.
Leasehold Reforms – This contentious area of property has been lurking for some years now. The government is looking to stop the abuse around leases being applied to new homes (not leasehold flats) in line with the problems that occurred when buyers having moved into properties found they were subject to large upticks under the terms of leases provided by the new home developers.
There was also mention of commonhold in the speech, again showing that we are slowly moving forward on this front too.
Though I have not had time to go through the dozens of bills and their possible impact on the property sector, sometimes there are hidden gems, it would seem that Gove as Housing Secretary will be bogged down for the next two years trying to sort the planning problem for new homes, at both a national and local council level.
The Punch and Judy show with regard to landlords and tenants will continue, and the role that social housing has in the whole rental sector looks to be as big a mess as it has always been – lots of talk and very little positive traction.
TDS Resolution: One Year in Review
Owned and operated by The Dispute Service and in association with the National Residential Landlord’s Association (NRLA), TDS Resolution is a conciliation and mediation service that aims to facilitate a resolution between landlords and tenants without the need for further action.
The purpose of having a TDS mediator present is to help guide the negotiation in the right direction. TDS mediators will not impose a decision on anyone, their role is to help keep the parties on track and understand the landlord and tenant’s point of view, identifying a solution that can help them move forward amicably.
After extending the service a year ago to include further mid-tenancy issues such as repairs, entry rights and property standards, TDS shares the results and findings.
According to the data collected, TDS has found that the most common issues brought to the TDS Resolution service were rent arrears, breach of tenancy terms and repairs.
|Percentage of requests by dispute areas|
|Breach of tenancy terms||17.31%|
|Noise/Anti-social behaviour (except serious anti-social activity)||6.72%|
TDS Resolution is aimed at both TDS landlords and tenants. However, of all requests received, the majority of mid-tenancy requests have come from landlords with almost 74% over just 26% of tenants, a vast difference from our dispute resolution service that finds most complaints come from tenants at end of tenancy.
Tenants are telling us that the service is valuable to them and a useful tool to avoid eviction, come to an amicable agreement with their landlord, and sustain their tenancy.
In light of this feedback, we’re reaching out to further tenant support organisations so even more tenants are aware of this service.
TDS Resolution records the avenues we receive requests from in three categories. These include the Tenancy deposit scheme (TDS), NRLA and Other.
A breakdown of the results is as follows:
“Other” has included internet searches, citizens advice, letting agents and word of mouth.
Arguably the most important statistic, is how successful TDS Resolution has been at providing a satisfactory mid-tenancy dispute resolution. Of the cases that have been within our remit, our success rate this year has been a very positive 85%
From our experience this past year, successful mediations with TDS Resolution occur where both parties are:
- Open and flexible during the process
- Willing to work closely with the mediator
- Clear as to what the desired outcome from the process is
- Prepared to make concessions
It is key that both parties engage in mediation as early as possible to nip disputes in the bud before issues escalate beyond repair.
You can find out more about how TDS Resolution works here.
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.