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  • Mal McCallion

Gove kicks landlords down road

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

It’s been another head-scratching / face-palming week in the property market.

Firstly, the Government’s divisive Renters (Reform) Bill has had one of its most contentious provisions kicked into the long grass. The abolishing of ‘no-fault’ evictions – allowing landlords to reclaim their property without having to give the tenant a reason – has been paused, on the eye-rolling reason that the Courts are so screwed-up right now that it wouldn’t be able to be enacted anyway. Tenants resisting eviction through the Courts, as they would be allowed to do under the Act, would cause the already-overloaded system to blow up.

To be clear – this isn’t a principled stand, it’s admin. Rather than fixing the Courts’ system – the same one that means rapists and other ‘lower-level’ criminals aren’t being put behind bars – the ruling Conservatives have kicked the can down the road, probably until after the General Election when they won’t have to actually enact it.

This is the worst kind of governing – neither decisive nor effective. It’s another sign – alongside those 14 Housing Ministers in 11 years that the property industry is not seen as important enough to address properly.

Alongside this, the lament that landlords are leaving the industry in droves – further depleting lettings stock and shooting up rents – is challenged this morning by reports that these yield increases are actually causing property-owners to consider letting more homes out. More confidence that mortgage rates are settling down after a crazy year, plus the prospect of further falls in property sale prices, has boosted the buy-to-let brigade’s appetite for more, higher yields.

This has been further buttressed by predictions that the Build-To-Rent (BTR) sector is due for further growth. There are currently 90,000 completed BTR homes in the UK. Including those under construction and those with planning permission, this will grow to over 230,000 homes once completed – with more to come.

The overriding problem for both sales and lettings – and it’s one each of those 14 Housing Ministers will have been introduced to on their first day – is a lack of property stock. Anything that helps to bring more availability into the market has to be welcomed – even when it’s in spite of, rather than because of, our short-termist and conflicted ‘government’.

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