Conservatives announce new controls for the PRS

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Theresa May's speech didn't go exactly as planned this week, it was supposed to be the crowning glory of the Conservative Party Conference but ended up as a bit of a farce. The stage was falling apart, endless coughing fits and a joker handing her a P45!   Amongst all this came the housing announcements. 

Details are very sketchy at the moment but more will be announced in the Budget on November 22nd.

All private landlords, as well as agents, having to become members of an official redress organisation. Javid told his party’s conference: “We will make it mandatory for every landlord to be part of an ombudsman scheme, either directly, or through a letting agent. At the moment landlords, unlike letting agents, are not required to sign up to ombudsman schemes. We will change the law so that this becomes a requirement, giving all tenants access to quick and easy dispute resolution over issues like repairs and maintenance;

All letting agents will be regulated in order to practice. Delegates heard Javid say: "Currently, anyone can operate as a letting agent without any qualifications or professional oversight. We will change the law so that all letting agents must register with an appropriate organisation. This will mean that letting agents would be required to satisfy minimum training requirements and comply with an industry code of conduct";

Incentives for longer term tenancies. “Working with the Treasury we will announce at the Autumn Budget [on November 22] a new set of incentives for landlords who offer tenancies of at least 12 months";

A possible housing court. “We will consult with the judiciary on the case for a new housing court to streamline the current system. We will explore whether a new housing court could improve existing court processes, reduce dependence on legal representation and encourage arbitration, with benefits for both tenants and landlords. We will consult with the judiciary on whether the introduction of a new housing court can meet the aim of saving time and money in dealing with disputes."

The first trade body to respond to the proposals, the Residential Landlords Association, welcomed the final point. 

RLA policy director, David Smith, said last evening:  “We called for Housing Courts to speed up and improve access to justice for good tenants and landlords as well as for tax incentives to support good landlords.”

Source - Lettingagenttoday.co.uk 

Affordable Housing

The prime minister announced a £2bn pot of grant money to build affordable housing, stating councils and housing associations can bid for the cash to build, and in areas with high rent, the homes can be social rent, rather than “affordable” rents, which can be up to 80% of market rent.

This was the first real commitment to social housing from the Conservatives, yet the wheels swiftly fell off when the numbers were crunched. The money, a Conservative briefing note explains, will build only 5,000 extra homes a year. The Tory manifesto stated an aim to build 1.5mhomes by 2022.

 

Steve Mansour, CEO of CRL responds to the announcement that Theresa May has pledged a further £2billion to ‘fix Britain’s housing crisis’.

“While it’s good news that Theresa May has pledged further investment into fixing the housing crisis, there are a number of other factors that can prevent homes from being built as quickly as we might like.

“The industry must look at the requirements of the modern homeowner, and potentially consider alternative methods to create the necessary amount of homes, for example, prefabricated and multigenerational homes. It is also important to take into account that basic, affordable family homes do not offer the highest return on investment, and ultimately, these are the types of houses that need to be built to address the shortfall.

“In addition, the government must support the industry and reassess current processes by cutting red tape and updating overcomplicated planning regulations. Whilst this has partly been implemented by The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, more can be done to make the overall process simpler for developers to gain the necessary permissions. This will enable a faster planning application process and help to ease the current complex and time-consuming procedures.”

 

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell criticised the uncosted pledges of £10bn for Help to Buy and £2bn for affordable housing, saying that by the time the current leader of the Conservative Party eventually finished speaking, she had a total of £15bn in spending commitments just in this Parliament, “without a single reference to how the money will be found to pay for them. The Tory magical money tree returns.”

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