• Published: 3rd Feb 22
  • Category: News

I was not even two cups of coffee into my morning when my inbox lit up with various newsflashes telling me that Mr Gove and his band of merrymakers at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities had released a white paper. This white paper is called… wait for it… Levelling Up!

Having read these things before I knew that before anything else I was going to need a pot of strong coffee. Kettle boiled, pot brewing I was ready to settle down, roll up my sleeves and have a read through some 297 pages.

I was somewhat surprised to see that there actually wasn’t very much devoted to the property market and to be frank not much more than we already knew. We expect there to be a further white paper specifically for the property market in the next couple of months.

There was mention of a plan to speed up the buying and selling process by having a scheme in place that allows all documents relating to a property to be in one place. Similar to a “logbook”. Information such as EPC’s, title deeds, tenure information and so on. Ominously the paper talks about the Government legislating if needs be to make this happen.

Moving to the Private Rented Sector the removal of the Section 21 process is confirmed. This is the notice that a landlord can use to regain possession where they need to (moving back in, selling up etc). For this to happen though there is a clear urgency to overhaul the Section 8 process and introduce new grounds for occasions where there is no breach of tenancy, but there is a need for the landlord to have the property back. I expect we will see more on this in the coming months.

There is also talk of introducing a National Landlords Register. What this will look like and who will be able to access it is not obvious although you can expect there to be a cost to registering! There is a similar scheme running in Wales, whereby Landlords or their Agents must be licenced by Rent Smart Wales before they can let their property.

The next item that caught my eye was the Decent Home Standards. It is proposed that landlords will need to meet a certain set of criteria before a property can be let. In truth we already have much of this through current legislation and regulations such as the Housing Health and Rating System Regs and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for this.

Whilst there is no mention of the regulation of property agents, this is not really a community issue and may explain why it does not appear in the paper. Additionally there is already a prospective section in the Estate Agents Act 1979 that allows the Housing Secretary to write regulations for Property Agents to meet standards of competence. This has been about for a while and our team are already studying towards diplomas in anticipation.

So that was it really, in a nutshell. But I still drank my coffee.

If you fancy a read you can see the paper here.

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