Housing Crisis: Will Sunak’s government get to grips?

Sunak’s government gets to work – but do they know it’s crunch time for landlords?

The second half of 2022 has given us a warp-speed ministerial shuffle, and three Prime Ministers in the space of just a few months. As events unfolded we’ve been watching avidly, in the hopes of getting some answers to questions like:

  • Will landlords finally get some more support? 
  • Do ministers understand the issues the property industry’s facing? 
  • Will new legislation help or hinder the private rented sector?

The calls for more government support have become louder as the cost-of-living crisis creates a steep uptick in evictions and repossessions across the nation.

Who’s the new housing minister?

Of course, with leadership shifts come cabinet shuffles, including a new Housing Minister, and changes in industry are bound to follow. 

Lucy Frazer is the new minister for housing – and she’s the fifth this year! She’s a landlord herself, but then this isn’t unusual for MPs. She’s yet to outline her master plan but we do know that:

  • In a conference speech on 9th November she said that planning reform is a ‘major area of focus’
  • She has voted in favour of ending the Covid-19 evictions protections because she felt it was ‘important landlords can take control’
  • Her voting record shows she believes benefits should be kept in line with rising prices, which may help keep people in their homes
  • As part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – or DLUHC – Lucy will oversee housing strategy, including supply and home ownership, as well as housing funds, including the Affordable Housing Programme

She’s the ninth minister with responsibility for housing in the last five years and the fourteenth since the 2010 general election! 

No doubt, landlords will be wondering whether she will be able to stay in the role long enough to bring about meaningful change – of the right kind.

She came to the role from the equally challenging role of Minister for Transport, so let’s hope she can get the wheels turning and make positive progress.

Other government news

Councils need clout 

Industry professionals are speaking up about the proposed Decent Homes Standard plans. They fear the legislation will be pointless unless councils are funded to enforce the standards.

The aim of the Decent Homes Standard in England is to bring social and private rented sector properties to a similar minimum level, ensuring that landlords who do not treat their tenants fairly are held to account.

Prevention, not prosecution

Propertymark is urging the government to focus on helping landlords keep their properties in good order. They also want to see tenants – not landlords – held to account for issues like mould, in cases where the issue is down to the tenant’s neglect.

This call for reform is aimed at revitalising and stabilising the private rental sector by ensuring ‘existing landlords stay in the market and new landlords enter and provide much-needed housing for people to rent.’

The markets have mellowed

After the catastrophic mini-budget from Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, the markets seem to have responded favourably to Jeremy Hunt’s appointment as Chancellor, and to Rishi Sunak stepping into the top job shortly after.

Following Hunt’s Autumn Statement announcement on 17th November the markets remained largely unchanged, which suggests a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. However, compared to the market meltdown following Truss’s mini-budget it’s a dream.

The people in the nation’s top jobs seem keen to give us a message that the grown-ups are in charge now, and positive change is in the pipeline. 

We just hope they can live up to their own expectations, and meet the needs of the sector.

Sunak’s government gets to work – but do they know it’s crunch time for landlords?

The second half of 2022 has given us a warp-speed ministerial shuffle, and three Prime Ministers in the space of just a few months. As events unfolded we’ve been watching avidly, in the hopes of getting some answers to questions like:

  • Will landlords finally get some more support? 
  • Do ministers understand the issues the property industry’s facing? 
  • Will new legislation help or hinder the private rented sector?

The calls for more government support have become louder as the cost-of-living crisis creates a steep uptick in evictions and repossessions across the nation.

Who’s the new housing minister?

Of course, with leadership shifts come cabinet shuffles, including a new Housing Minister, and changes in industry are bound to follow. 

Lucy Frazer is the new minister for housing – and she’s the fifth this year! She’s a landlord herself, but then this isn’t unusual for MPs. She’s yet to outline her master plan but we do know that:

  • In a conference speech on 9th November she said that planning reform is a ‘major area of focus’
  • She has voted in favour of ending the Covid-19 evictions protections because she felt it was ‘important landlords can take control’
  • Her voting record shows she believes benefits should be kept in line with rising prices, which may help keep people in their homes
  • As part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – or DLUHC – Lucy will oversee housing strategy, including supply and home ownership, as well as housing funds, including the Affordable Housing Programme

She’s the ninth minister with responsibility for housing in the last five years and the fourteenth since the 2010 general election! 

No doubt, landlords will be wondering whether she will be able to stay in the role long enough to bring about meaningful change – of the right kind.

She came to the role from the equally challenging role of Minister for Transport, so let’s hope she can get the wheels turning and make positive progress.

Other government news

Councils need clout 

Industry professionals are speaking up about the proposed Decent Homes Standard plans. They fear the legislation will be pointless unless councils are funded to enforce the standards.

The aim of the Decent Homes Standard in England is to bring social and private rented sector properties to a similar minimum level, ensuring that landlords who do not treat their tenants fairly are held to account.

Prevention, not prosecution

Propertymark is urging the government to focus on helping landlords keep their properties in good order. They also want to see tenants – not landlords – held to account for issues like mould, in cases where the issue is down to the tenant’s neglect.

This call for reform is aimed at revitalising and stabilising the private rental sector by ensuring ‘existing landlords stay in the market and new landlords enter and provide much-needed housing for people to rent.’

The markets have mellowed

After the catastrophic mini-budget from Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, the markets seem to have responded favourably to Jeremy Hunt’s appointment as Chancellor, and to Rishi Sunak stepping into the top job shortly after.

Following Hunt’s Autumn Statement announcement on 17th November the markets remained largely unchanged, which suggests a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. However, compared to the market meltdown following Truss’s mini-budget it’s a dream.

The people in the nation’s top jobs seem keen to give us a message that the grown-ups are in charge now, and positive change is in the pipeline. 

We just hope they can live up to their own expectations, and meet the needs of the sector.

What are your hopes for this government? 

Why not head to our dedicated private Landlord Community on Facebook and join the discussion there? There’s nothing like being part of a community of people who truly get it.

Why not head to our dedicated private Landlord Community on Facebook and join the discussion there? There’s nothing like being part of a community of people who truly get it.

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