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Queen’s Speech review for buy-to-let landlords: end of Section 21 confirmed

3-minute read

Conor Shilling

10 May 2022

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The Queen’s Speech, delivered on 10 May, outlines the government’s plans for the next parliamentary session.

Alongside policies on Brexit, education, and crime, there were several announcements that could affect landlords.

Read on to find out more about the scrapping of Section 21 evictions and further reform of the leasehold system.

Confirmed: Section 21 evictions will be scrapped

The key confirmation affecting the rental market was that Section 21 evictions will be scrapped as part of rental market reform.

The government says scrapping Section 21 evictions will strengthen renters’ rights, while giving landlords greater powers to tackle anti-social tenants or those in serious rent arrears.

Landlords' grounds for possession will also be reformed. It’s previously been rumoured that this would involve strengthening Section 8 of the Housing Act.

The Queen’s Speech revealed that a new ombudsman for private landlords will aim to make sure that disputes can be resolved without going to court.

The announcement on rental reforms also confirmed:

  • a new property portal will be launched to help landlords understand their obligations
  • tenants will be able to use the portal to get performance information on their landlord, which will also be monitored by local authorities
  • a white paper will be published “shortly”, which will set out more detail on the “landmark reform” of the rental sector

Plans to scrap Section 21 evictions have been around since 2019 and were included in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper in February.

The other rental proposals included in the white paper were:

  • a minimum standard (the Decent Homes Standard) for all private rental homes
  • more fines and bans for rogue landlords
  • a consultation on a national landlord register

There’s still no indication of when these changes could be introduced. However, it’s likely a timeframe will be given in the upcoming white paper. Keep an eye on our Knowledge centre for updates.

“Landlords need more clarity and certainty”

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Tom Mundy, COO of rental platform Goodlord, commented: “After so many delays, the Queen's Speech has put the Renters' Reform Bill back on the table. Although the Bill is set to introduce policies which divide opinion in the sector, the ongoing uncertainty around these proposals wasn't helping anyone.

“The government must provide letting agents, landlords and tenants the clarity they need to move forward with confidence. Uncertainty is no good for the market, especially one that's grappling with an ever-changing set of regulations and new requirements. The industry now needs clear timelines so they can prepare accordingly.”

Daniel Evans, Chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, added: “This latest announcement is a step in the right direction, but as we’ll remember from previous Queen’s Speeches, this isn’t the first time rental reform has been promised.

“We’ve heard for many years the plans to scrap Section 21, introduce a compulsory landlord register (as is already the case in Scotland) and implement lifetime deposits, but we’ve never really got any further than that.

“We all need a bit more clarity and certainty, and hopefully now we know the direction of travel with regards to rental reform, the momentum behind it will no longer falter.”

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Further leasehold reform announced

Alongside confirmation of Section 21 evictions being scrapped, changes to the leasehold system were announced.

The Leasehold Reform Bill proposes to:

ban landlords from charging ground rent for new long residential leases from 30 June 2022

ban new leasehold houses being built so all new homes will be freehold

In recent years there have been numerous changes to the leasehold system, such as:

  • a new right for leaseholders to extend their leases to 990 years at zero ground rent
  • tools for leaseholders find out how much it would cost to buy their freehold or extend their lease

What is the Queen’s Speech?

The Queen’s Speech marks the formal State Opening of Parliament and sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the next parliamentary session.

This year, Prince Charles delivered the speech in place of the Queen due to her ongoing health issues. It’s the first time the speech hasn’t been delivered by the Queen since 1963.

The speech was written by the government and was delivered by Prince Charles from the House of Lords. This was followed by a statement from Boris Johnson, and a debate between MPs.

In total, the speech set out 38 parliamentary bills with a focus on growing the economy, easing the cost of living crisis, and progressing the government’s levelling up agenda.

What do you think about the rental measures announced as part of the Queen’s Speech? Let us know in the comments below.

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