Queen's Speech: Delivering fairer, more affordable homes for buyers and renters
19 Dec 2019 02:13 PM
Plans announced to help home-buyers and renters, devolve power and funding to communities and improve building safety.
- Better deal for renters with new lifetime deposit – making the process of moving home easier and cheaper for millions
- Confirmation of plans to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions – preventing landlords from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason
- Government also announces plans to slash the cost of new homes for local people and key workers in their area by up to a third
- New English devolution white paper to unleash potential of all regions across the country – levelling up every city, town and county
- Biggest change to building safety laws for 40 years to deliver new safety framework for high-rise buildings – ensuring residents’ concerns never go ignored
A revolutionary new deal for renters will restore fairness, honesty and transparency to the heart of the housing market, thanks to new proposals unveiled as part of the Queen’s Speech.
Under the plans, millions of renters will benefit from a new lifetime deposit scheme, which will see their hard-earned deposit move with them from property to property – giving tenants more control over their lives and keeping more of their cash in their pocket.
Proposals to abolish no-fault evictions have also been confirmed, meaning landlords will no longer be able to uproot tenants from their homes at short notice and with no good reason – bringing greater security to millions of families who live in rented accommodation.
This will be matched with new powers to strengthen the rights of landlords to gain possession of their property through the courts when they have a clearly valid reason to do so, in order to create a fair market where good and responsible landlords flourish.
The government has also announced plans which will make owning a home more affordable. This includes the new First Home scheme making homes available at a discount for local first-time buyers.
Councils will be able to use housing developers’ contributions to discount homes by 30% for people who cannot otherwise afford to buy in their area. The Affordable Homes Programme will also be renewed, building more homes for rent and delivering a new shared ownership offer.
The Queen’s Speech has also set out further detail for new legislation to bring an end to the unscrupulous practice of unnecessary leaseholds – introducing new laws to ban new houses being sold on a leasehold basis and reducing ground rents for new leases to zero.
Welcoming the Speech, Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
The announcements made in the Queen’s Speech today will empower both home-buyers and renters. The legislation that we will bring forward will provide a better deal for renters through our lifetime deposit scheme while also protecting them from no fault evictions. We will also help first-time buyers get a foot on the property market with 30% discounts for local people and key workers.
We are moving forward with legislation to set ground rents to zero, abolish leasehold houses and prioritise the safety of residents with the biggest change to building safety laws for 40 years.
I look forward to getting on with this ambitious and exciting agenda.
As well as the measures for renters, local first-time buyers and reforms to the leasehold market, the government has also outlined plans to which will ensure any new housing is accompanied by essential infrastructure. A white paper will also be published on reforming the planning system to ensure it works better for the public and small builders.
Devolution and local growth
New proposals to unleash the potential of all regions across England will be brought forward in a devolution white paper in the coming months – devolving power and funding to people and places so that every part of the country can shape its own destiny.
The English devolution white paper will be at the heart of the government’s commitment to levelling up every city, town and county across the country.
Already 37% of residents in England, and almost 50% in the North, are now served by city region mayors with powers and money to prioritise local issues, drive significant infrastructure projects and act as a local champion for the area.
The white paper will set the strategy for expanding the benefits of devolution across England, as well as putting more trust in local people to choose what is best for their communities and lead the way on our domestic agenda.
Ministers have also confirmed plans to bring forward new and revitalised strategies for the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, as well as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
In the biggest change to building safety laws for 40 years, the government will take forward the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety through a new Building Safety Bill.
- provide clearer accountability for, and stronger duties on, those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings throughout design, construction and occupation
- give residents a stronger voice in the system, ensuring their concerns are not ignored and they fully understand how they can contribute to maintaining safety in their buildings
- strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance with the new regime in order to hold the right people to account
In addition to these major reforms, the government will take forward swift action to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry Phase 1 Report through changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, as soon as possible.
Over the coming weeks and months, ministers will work with residents, building owners and others to ensure legislation delivers the fundamental changes needed so that all people – regardless of where they live – feel safe in their homes.
New legislation will also be brought forward to require developers of new build homes to belong to a New Home Ombudsman.
To bolster life-saving support for survivors of domestic abuse, the government has confirmed it intends to amend the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to include for the first time a new legal duty on councils to provide safe accommodation for those fleeing violent relationships.
The Bill will transform the response to domestic abuse to better protect survivors and their children and ensure they have the support they need, while pursuing their abusers.
The move will also bring an end to the postcode lottery of support for those fleeing abusive relationships, and ensure all survivors can get the help they need to rebuild their lives.
This comes months after ministers announced a further £15 million in funding to run these essential services in 2020-2021 – a 20% increase on 2019-2020.
Business rates revaluation
And to ensure business rate payers in England have bills that more accurately reflect current property values, ministers will bring forward legislation to increase the frequency of business rates revaluations.
Business rates revaluations will increase to every 3 years, from the current 5 years, and the next revaluation will be brought forward a year from 2022 to 2021 to ensure businesses see the benefits of this change as soon as possible.
A property’s business rates bill is based on a precise estimate of the premises’ rental value. Business rates revaluations help ensure this estimate accurately reflects the market value of the property and maintain fairness by redistributing the total amount payable across the country.
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