Following their victory at last week’s general election, the Conservatives have been urged by two leading landlord associations to make sure that any reforms made to the private rented sector (PRS) will ensure no obstacles for landlords wishing to seek repossession of properties.
The Residential Landlord Association (RLA) asked for a clear framework from the government, to ensure that there are clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can seek repossession, following the expected scrappage of Section 21.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) urged the new government to establish a new housing court, in order to ensure that fault-based evictions as pursued through Section 8 would no longer involve what they termed a logjam of repossession cases that could follow on from Section 21’s scrappage.
Looking to the future
The Conservatives have started this week, preparing to outline their legislative agenda, having secured a majority of 80 seats, the largest the party has been able to win since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher led the party into a third consecutive electoral victory.
A Cabinet reshuffle is expected, with some of the highest roles in government expected to be filled, as the Conservatives prepare for a new five-year term in office, with a weakened Labour opposition, and a fresh mandate from voters.
Plans to formally begin the process of ensuring scrappage of Section 21 will be closely watched, with a bill likely to be presented to MPs, with a number of readings by MPs and peers in the House of Lords. If such a bill were to receive approval from both the Houses of Parliament, Royal Assent would be the final step, before the bill would finally enter into effect.
Calls for clarity from the RLA and NLA reflect the fact that there is no clear timetable for how the policy will be enacted.
David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said: “With the demand for rented housing remaining strong, it is vital that the Conservatives’ plans for the sector, whilst being fair to tenants, have the full confidence of landlords.”
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, reacted to Mr Johnson’s victory, adding: “No-one should be in any doubt about the dire consequences for the supply for rental housing in this country, if the government abolishes Section 21 without any effort to reform the law courts and strengthen landlords’ rights of possession.”
Focus turns to 2020 and beyond
Attention is beginning to turn towards the speed with which Mr Johnson’s new government intends to carry out some of the party’s core manifesto pledges. The Conservative manifesto included some extensive plans to shake up the housing market.
The new government is now expected to make good on pledges for increased housebuilding and extending Right to Buy until 2023, as well as carry out a review to support increased homeownership, when the scheme expires.
A speedy resolution to Brexit is central to the new government’s approach, as a number of economic surveys have suggested that a lack of confidence by buyers and sellers was having an adverse reaction on activity in the housing market in the pre-election period.
Another survey earlier this month suggested that the construction sector contracted in November.