What the Levelling Up Plan means for the PRS 

The Government unveiled its Levelling Up Plan last week which sets out long-term proposals to transform the UK through twelve national missions to be achieved by 2030, so it is interesting to see what this means for the property sector.

Plans which affect the private rented sector (PRS) include that, for the first time ever, all homes in PRS will have to meet a minimum standard – the Decent Homes Standard. That Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished and a consultation will take place on introducing a landlords’ register to set out plans for a crackdown on rogue landlords to make sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders.

With regard to Section 21 Propertymark has long held the view that the only workable alternative is to strengthen all grounds for possession and make them all mandatory – this is in keeping with the spirit of the UK Government’s intentions as tenant’s won’t be evicted unless they have been provided with good reason. 

In terms of the landlord register it will be essential that local authorities have the staff and resources needed to actively go out, inspect properties and prosecute, otherwise it becomes quite meaningless.  

“Everyone wants to see a crackdown on rogue landlords and safe and secure private rented homes,” commented Timothy Douglas, Propertymark Head of Policy and Campaigns, “but additional standards are meaningless unless they are enforced. Abolishing Section 21 has been talked about for a while now by the UK Government but what agents want to know is what will replace it to maintain confidence in the market for landlords.” 

The Government also looks to address housing supply in the Plan and further commitments to building more affordable social housing are included. This is broadly welcomed within the PRS as demand continues to outstrip supply and Propertymark believes the long-term solution to address the lack of affordability in the PRS is to ensure that more social housing is built to reduce housing needs.

To address housing ownership, a new £1.5 billion Levelling Up Fund is being launched to boost this and will provide loans and support the UK Government’s wider regeneration agenda in areas that are a priority for levelling up. “On home ownership,” Timothy Douglas added, “the UK Government’s plans to address the imbalance of housing supply will be welcome in many parts of the country with a clear focus on providing more people with more opportunities to own their own home.” 

Like so much with plans of such scale the devil will be in the detail and we will watch closely to see how resources will be allocated to ensure that the proposals set out can be implemented and what that means for landlords, tenants and those looking to buy their own home here in Suffolk.

As always if you need advice on this or anything else on the local property market, please do not hesitate to call me.