Discover the key takeaways for landlords from the 2023 King’s Speech, including details on the Renters Reform Bill and a new bill for leaseholders.
The 2023 King’s Speech highlighted several developments which could make a significant impact on the property sector as we know it.
A standout moment for landlords was the discussion surrounding the Renters Reform Bill, which is now set to enter the committee stage, likely by the end of the year.
If you missed the full speech, don’t worry, we’ve boiled down all the key points that every landlord should have on their radar.
- The Renters Reform Bill and Section 21
- A commitment to Net Zero and energy efficiency
- The Leasehold and Freehold Bill
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The Renters Reform Bill and Section 21
As expected, the Renters Reform Bill was included in the King’s Speech, with references to both landlords and tenants.
There was an emphasis on renters benefitting from ‘stronger security of tenure’ and ‘better value’, while landlords were promised reforms ensuring they could reclaim their properties when necessary.
Originally, the plan was to abolish Section 21 most likely around 18 months after the Renters Reform Bill received Royal Assent.
However, in October 2023, the government confirmed that the end of Section 21 will be ‘aligned’ with ‘court improvements’. This effectively extends the timeline for abolishing Section 21, granting landlords a more relaxed transition period.
While the King’s Speech didn’t reveal the specific timeline for these changes, it reaffirmed the government’s commitments as outlined in their manifesto.
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A commitment to Net Zero and energy efficiency
The King’s Speech primarily addressed the renting sector in connection with the Renters Reform Bill.
However, landlords should also pay attention to another commitment that could impact the broader property sector: the government’s promise to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2025.
At the moment the focus seems to be on ‘safeguarding energy independence’ and investing in renewable energy sources – though without adding ‘undue burdens’ on households.
Previously, the government had been looking at measures that would require that all landlords achieve an EPC rating of ‘C’ for new tenancies by 2025 and for all tenancies by 2028.
In September 2023, this plan was scrapped, meaning the requirement for landlords to improve their EPC ratings, within these deadlines, is no longer in place.
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The Leasehold and Freehold Bill
The King’s Speech also introduced a new bill to simplify the process for leaseholders to buy their freehold and tackle excessive service charges in the housing market.
The Leasehold and Freehold Bill aligns with the government’s commitment to improving home ownership for leaseholders, making it easier and cheaper for them to extend their lease, purchase their freehold, and manage their building.
Overall, it aims to empower leaseholders, enhance their consumer rights, and reshape the leasehold market.
These proposed changes build on the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Act 2022, which ended ground rents for eligible long residential leasehold properties in England and Wales.