The government has announced that it will soon publish its White Paper on Leveling, the overall aim of which is, over a decade, to address and correct the geographical inequality of opportunity and wealth plaguing the UK.
“We have one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. Ours is the most spoken language in the world. We have produced more Nobel laureates than any country other than America,” boasts Secretary Michael Gove.
He continues: “But not everyone shares the UK’s success equally. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. While some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a single-engine jet.
“Leveling Up and this white paper aim to end this historic injustice and call time on the postcode lottery,” he says.
The agenda is broad, with the main points being a transfer of power from Whitehall to local leaders, an increase of “at least” 40% in public investment in research and development outside London and the publication of 12 “missions” – goals that include improved wages, better public transport, higher levels of schooling and vocational training, and a reduction in the gap in life expectancy between geographical areas.
The government specifies that these missions will be quantifiable and monitored in public.
Among these missions, the one that directly concerns the real estate credit sector is point 10 which stipulates that, by 2030, “tenants will have secure access to property with an increase in the number of first-time buyers in all areas; and the government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rental accommodation to be reduced by 50%, with the biggest improvements being in the worst performing areas. »
And in more detail, the government explains that as part of its goal of restoring local pride, it will:
- Divert more brownfield development funds out of London
- Set a minimum standard for homes in the private rental sector – the “decent homes standard”
- Abolish Section 21 evictions and consult on creating a landlord registry
- Launch a £1.5billion housing construction fund for small and medium-sized businesses in the sector
- Submit a new social housing regulation bill
Commenting on the comprehensive upgrade programme, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The challenges we face have been built in over generations and cannot be solved overnight, but this white paper is the crucial next step. .
“This is the most comprehensive and ambitious plan of its kind this country has ever seen and it will ensure that the government continues to rise to the challenge and respond to the needs of the British people.”
Regarding housing proposals, the National Residential Landlords Association Ben Beadle says: “Every tenant should have the right to expect properties to be safe and secure. However, the existing decent housing standard is not the right way to achieve this important goal.
“At present, this standard, designed for the social rental sector, does not reflect many differences between it and the private rental sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each.
And Propertymark’s Head of Policy and Campaigns, Timothy Douglas, comments: “Everyone wants to see a crackdown on rogue landlords and safe and secure private rental homes, but additional standards don’t make sense if they are not applied.
“What’s key to ‘leveling up’ the private rental sector is ensuring local authorities have the staff and resources to actively go out, inspect properties and prosecute.”
He continues: “Abolition of Section 21 has been mooted for some time by the government, but what officers want to know is what will replace it to maintain confidence in the landlord market.
“Propertymark believe the only viable alternative is to strengthen all grounds for possession and make them all mandatory – this is in line with the spirit of the Government’s intentions as tenants will not be evicted unless they have a good reason to do so.”
Meanwhile, Chestertons’ lettings manager, Richard Davies, said: “With strong demand for quality accommodation from tenants in and out of the capital, we welcome the government’s decision to incentivize private landlords to upgrade their properties and meet a minimum standard; no matter when they were originally built.
“It should be noted that in our experience, landlords who invest in maintaining or renovating their rental properties enjoy higher rental income, shorter vacancy periods and find that the tenant will take better care of the property to avoid losing part of their deposit.
“Another promising side effect of the new legislation is a potential drop in the number of rogue landlords,” Davies concludes.