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The Queen’s Speech 2022 – Property Matters

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

At the State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 10 May 2022, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Charles set out the government’s priorities and proposed policies for the next parliamentary session.

There were a number of developments affecting the property sector, including the following matters.

Residential leasehold and housing

The government will continue its work on the Renters Reform Bill which will abolish so-called ‘no fault’ evictions and strengthen landlords’ rights of possession and apply the legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time.

The government confirms that it intends to publish a White Paper shortly setting out more detail on its proposals for ‘landmark reform in the private rented sector’.

The government has also confirmed it will continue its work to improve the leasehold market following the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, coming into force on 30 June 2022. This prevents a financial ground rent in most new long residential leases.

The government aims to build on this by making it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy their freehold and simpler and quicker to take control of the management of their building, banning new leasehold houses other than in exceptional circumstances, and delivering a reformed commonhold system as an alternative to leasehold ownership. In addition, the government will continue to support the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into mis-selling and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

A Social Housing Regulation Bill is designed to increase social housing tenants’ rights to better homes and enhance their ability to hold their landlords to account, addressing concerns raised by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Measures include enabling the Regulator of Social Housing to intervene with landlords who are performing poorly on consumer issues, such as complaints handling and decency of homes and to act in the interest of tenants to make sure issues are rectified.

‘Levelling’ up and regeneration

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to drive local growth is to be brought forward ‘empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success’. This will include reform of the planning system ‘to give residents more involvement in local development’.

The Bill is also to include new powers for local authorities to bring empty premises back into use and instigate rental auctions of vacant commercial properties in town centres and on high streets. RICS, while welcoming the move to bring empty commercial property back into use, comments that the government’s proposals to effectively force commercial landlords to rent out empty property may be ‘too blunt a tool’ and one which does not fully address the challenges faced in the retail sector, commenting that the reasons why many shops are unoccupied are complex including demand, business rates, planning permission, shifting consumer habits, the rise of online retail and the impact of the pandemic

The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Wednesday, 11 May 2022. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate. The date for the second reading has not yet been announced.

Electronic Communications Code

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill includes measures to reform the Electronic Communications Code (Code) ‘to support faster, fairer and more collaborative negotiations for the use of private and public land to enable deployment of telecommunications networks’.

Part 2 of the Bill makes changes to the Code with the aim of fostering more collaborative and quicker negotiations between mobile network operators and landowners with regards to installing, using or upgrading telecoms infrastructure.

Business rates

A Non-Domestic Rating Bill will include measures to shorten the business rates revaluation cycle from five to three years from 2023 and, to incentivise investment in, and decarbonisation of, properties, to introduce new 12-month rates relief on increases to rateable value arising from improvements made to a property and a new 100 percent rates relief for low carbon heat networks that are assessed as separate entities for business rates.

RICS urges that both public and private finance streams should be leveraged to help upgrade carbon-intensive properties, in the interests of safeguarding the long-term environmental performance and attractiveness of commercial assets.

Electric vehicle charging points

Measures in a new Transport Bill will allow for the installation of more electric vehicle charge points throughout the UK as part of the transition away from new petrol and diesel car and van sales by 2030 and build public confidence to switch to zero emission vehicles.

Sources: Queen’s Speech 2022, Queen’s Speech 2022: background briefing notes, Government to deliver ‘new deal’ for renters and RICS response to Queen’s Speech 2022.

If you need any Commercial Property advice, contact our team.

 

Ika Částka

Posted:

Ika Částka

Partner

Ika is Head of the Commercial Property team and has been advising individuals and businesses across Northamptonshire since 1986, specialising in commercial, agricultural and rural property matters for both businesses and individuals.