United Kingdom

What do Cabinet changes mean for private rented sector reforms?

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The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has a new Secretary of State, Simon Clarke, and will soon get some new ministers as well. 

Clarke, the MP for Middlesborough South and East Cleveland, briefly served in the department in 2020 and has now become the fourth person to lead it in just the last year. 

Industry groups welcomed the appointment and called for Clarke to look again at rental reform with more industry input, tackle the shortage of properties to let and work closely with agents and landlords.

The new Secretary of State has supported reforming the planning system, scrapping top-down housebuilding targets and achieving Net Zero (carbon neutrality) by 2050. However, he hasn’t given many clues as to his plans for rentals.

What will happen to the Renters’ Reform Bill?

Other job vacancies at the department still need to be filled, with housing ministers Eddie Hughes and Marcus Jones both stepping down last week. Hughes was behind the rental reform White Paper and was a big supporter of scrapping Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, and the industry will be watching closely to see if his successor continues along the same lines.

The plan to scrap Section 21 was first announced in 2019, two prime ministers and four Secretaries of State ago, so it is likely to remain on the agenda under Liz Truss and Simon Clarke as well. However, politicians have plenty of other issues on their plates at the moment, not least the cost-of-living crisis – and with only two years left of the Parliamentary term, rental reform could easily be kicked into the long grass again.

Other housing legislation headlines

Liz Truss set to overhaul planning laws to end central targets – iNews

Countrywide boss: “Help to Buy will be missed” – Estate Agent Today

Property industry reacts to Liz Truss becoming prime minister – Property Industry Eye

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