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What do Government changes mean for your property plans?

almost 2 years ago
What do Government changes mean for your property plans?

If you follow politics, you’ll know it’s a case of ‘all change’ at the Conservative party. While the headline news is the resignation of our Prime Minister and the voting-in of a new leader, there was a reshuffling within the lower ranks that may have an effect on the property market. 

Those waiting for news on the second phase of leasehold reforms may be waiting longer than anticipated. As a reminder, the Government pledged it would make it easier and cheaper for people to extend their leases with zero ground rent for 990 years.

Only as recently as 13th June 2022 did Lord Greenhalgh, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) representative in the House of Lords, confirm that the Government was committed to making further leasehold changes in this Parliament (by 2024).

Lord Greenhalgh resigned not long after, casting doubt on how quickly part two of the reforms will be actioned. This was the first in a trio of property department changes. Housing Minister Stuart Andrew submitted his resignation soon after Lord Greenhalgh, while Michael Gove – the head of the DLUHC – was sacked by Boris Johnson in quick succession.  

The latter is of interest for those waiting for the Renters’ Reform Bill to be enacted as law. This reform – together with the accompanying Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper – was the brainchild of outgoing Gove, with the document fully endorsed by Johnson.

Industry experts are already speculating whether the change of guard – Greg Clark as the new DLUHC leader and Marcus Jones as the new housing minister – will further delay new lettings laws, as it’s unproven whether the fresh appointments share the same rental views as Johnson and Gove. 

One thing that Gove and Clark have agreed on is a resolution to end the UK’s cladding crisis. Clark’s first public pledge was to lock major housebuilders into remediating and funding work to rid high rise buildings of unsafe cladding. Clark has also pledged to rebuild relationships with housebuilders to increase the supply of new homes – a move welcomed by developers across the country.

Once the new-look Conservative party has settled, it’s quite possible that a General Election will happen sooner than 2024. A snap election would see incumbent and shadow MPs make vote-winning pledges, so we’ll be watching for eye-catching announcements on stamp duty and property tax.

If you would like to discuss how incoming reforms may affect your property plans, contact us today. 

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