Michael Gove has released the government’s Levelling Up White Paper, in which he sets out a long term plan to transform the UK to establish more equal opportunities to “change the economic geography of the country”.
This paper includes 12 nation “missions”, which are to be achieved by 2030, and will become part of legislation in a Levelling up and Regeneration Bill—including significant changes in the private rented sector.
The main changes in the PRS include a new “legally binding” Decent Homes Standard, while Section 21 evictions will be abolished completely. Plans are also in place to create an official landlord register with the intention of banishing rogue landlords from the sector.
Decent Homes Standard
The current Decent Homes Standard has been in place since 2006, and the updated Levelling Up programme should raise the bar on rental properties and “cut out 50% of non-decent rented homes [by 2030]”.
The government claims that 9% of homes contain hazards that pose an imminent risk to health, and 16% are classed as “non-decent”, with “higher rates of non-decent housing in Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the North West”.
Letting agents and landlords in these areas should take note, as these are the areas that will be most targeted according to the Levelling Up programme.
The Decent Homes Standard also includes a statement of intent to make affordable housing more accessible now and in the future, and a promise to build up to 160,000 homes across England, and a further 180,000 affordable homes (with 75% of them delivered outside London) by 2030.
The Levelling Up programme also outlines intentions to abolish Section 21 “no fault” evictions in 2022, possibly as soon as they publish their White Paper (due spring).
Meanwhile, the same White Paper will include plans to “explore proposals for introducing a National Landlord Register and taking tough action against rogue landlords”.
Other highlights in the property sector
- First-time buyers will be given first option to buy homes via the First Homes scheme, with a further 30% discount for buyers staying within their community
- Addressing poor energy efficiency in the worst performing homes and those least able to pay.
- Extra funding of £2bn to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping
The full report can be read here.