Gove questioned about Renters' Reform

Pressing housing questions were put to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in an oral session in the House of Commons on Monday 20 February 2023, with the Secretary of State, Michael Gove giving some reassurance to landlords and tenants, however, the long-promised Renters’ Reform Bill is still awaited.

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Whilst it is positive to see housing discussed with concerns raised from all sides of the Parliamentary fence, nonetheless, with no timeline for Renters’ Reform it is difficult for the private rented sector to become stable.

Rent controls

The UK Government stated a definite no to rent controls, saying they do not support it and evidence shows they do not work. Propertymark is pleased that this has been clarified so emphatically, as we know that rent controls would deter new landlords from entering the market and discourage those already in the sector who are facing rising mortgage costs and tax penalties.

Renting with pets

The issue of pets in private rented accommodation was again questioned, and although this will feature in the Renter’s Reform, Propertymark continues its work to ensure that any reforms work both for landlords and tenants with measures like a requirement for pet insurance to be included.

Leasehold reform

Still working its way through Parliament, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has promised the inclusion of reform for leaseholders. However, despite the opposition saying that leaseholders still find themselves still stuck in limbo, due to being unable to sell or re-mortgage and facing higher service and insurance fees, Gove confirmed reform was coming and 95% of buildings with the most dangerous cladding have been remediated or have work underway.

Second homes

Gove states the UK Government is looking at registration schemes and higher land tax to tackle second homes, but Propertymark is concerned this will impact buy-to-let landlords as there is still no clear definition between a second house as a holiday home and an additional property to rent out and provide housing in the community.

Energy efficiency

We are also keen to see more transparency around Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) with Gove stating that amended Part L Regulations in the Building Regulations 2010 have helped significantly and will be a stepping stone to further standards in 2025. However, there is still no clarity on what those standards will be and what will be expected of different tenures.

Attending an Association of Decentralised Energy event to discuss their proposal that the UK Government should introduce MEES for owner occupiers to be implemented at the point of sale by the late 2020s, Propertymark supports the need to improve standards and energy efficiency across all housing tenures. Nevertheless, more needs to be done to ensure that the decarbonisation of homes contributes towards the UK Government’s legal obligation to get to Net Zero by 2050.

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20 Feb 2023
Support needed to decarbonise owner-occupied sector

Propertymark attended a roundtable event hosted by The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) to discuss their proposal that the UK Government should introduce MEES for owner occupiers to be implemented at the point of sale by the late 2020s with all homes to be an EPC Band C or above.