News items this week have tended to be on
The new government
With a totally new government and team and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government – what does this mean for the private rented sector?
It’s hard to say, although Esther McVey has been publishing a lot of videos which you can see on her twitter stream.
There is quite a thoughtful piece from Rebekah Paczek published on Property Industry Eye. Here is part of what she said:
We should expect that MHCLG will be entering a new phase.
There are legislative Bills waiting in the parliamentary wings, but we should expect further delay as the new team reviews and makes its mark on all legislation.
We should also expect some highly relevant initiatives in the autumn Budget, which could be as early as next month.
Johnson is keen on metro mayors and regional devolution.
At the same time, it is broadly known that he is not particularly impressed with the delivery record of the current (Labour) Mayor of London and, with some significant planning appeals pending, it will be intriguing to see how the first decisions on the desk of the new Secretary of State are processed and delivered.
One thing which has been generally welcomed is the presence of Esther McVey at the Cabinet table. To quote the Negotiator:
The former GMTV presenter is the ninth housing minister since the Conservatives took power in 2010 but is the first to be given access to cabinet meetings, a potential sign that Boris Johnson may be about to put house building higher up the political agenda in the coming months.
The industry has been calling for housing ministers to attend cabinet for many years, often complaining that a lack of cabinet position showed the government did not take housing seriously.
However, Industry leaders (and indeed all of us in housing) are totally fed up with the revolving door at the Housing Ministry. As reported on Eye, a joint statement from David Cox and Mark Hayward said:
There have been a large number of consultations and important policy over the last few years, all of which now require action.
However, it’s not entirely clear how this can happen if a new minister is reshuffled as soon as they are in post long enough to understand their brief.
We look forward to some stability in this important role as a new Government finds its feet in the Brexit minefield.
A piece published today in the Guardian from Patrick Collinson (featuring lots of graphs) fears that housing is some way down Johnson’s to-do list although apparently, Robert Jenrick told them:
We will focus relentlessly on boosting supply and home ownership,” adding that “As the prime minister has made clear, we’re determined to close the opportunity gap and give millions of young people the chance to own their own homes
Always, the Tories (looking back towards the halcyon days of Mrs Thatcher) focus obsessively on home-ownership rather than the private rented sector.
However, Collinson points out that there is one person in government who understands the sector, Sir Edward Lister who is Johnsons new Chief of Staff:
Lister was Johnson’s righthand man in the Mayor of London’s office, and a key figure during his prime ministerial campaign. But he is also steeped in housing issues, currently on leave from his job as chairman of Homes England, the government’s self-proclaimed “housing accelerator”.
A new Lord Chancellor
Turning to the Justice Dept, I am pleased to hear that the new Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister is a lawyer – Robert Buckland QC.
I know nothing about him (although the information page says he is from Wales which is interesting) but as a QC he should at least have a proper understanding of the Lord Chancellors role (unlike Liz Truss a few years ago).
Consultations in the pipeline
Just for the record, the following are underway just now (this is not a complete list):
- Tenancy deposit reform: a call for evidence – closes 5 September 2019
- Increasing the minimum notice period for a no-fault eviction – Wales – closes 5 September 2019
- A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants – closes 12 October 2019
- Rogue landlord database reform – closes 12 October 2019
- Mobile homes: a fit and proper person test for park home sites– closes 17 September
- Homelessness Reduction Act 2017: call for evidence – closes 15 October 2019
And from the Labour party
- Ending the Scandal: Labour’s new deal for leaseholders – closes 30 September 2019
How are we supposed to find the time to do considered and careful responses to all those and still be able to earn a living?
- New Justice Minister warned that the Court system will go into meltdown if reform to s21 is introduced as proposed
- Research shows that on average landlords spend about £3,000 looking after their rental properties not including agents fees.
- The FCA urges the government to expand credit unions as an alternative to payday lenders (sounds like a good idea to me)
I just had to share this tweeted video with you. If I was Theresa May I would have it playing in my sitting room on a loop …