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I warned you in my podcast on the 26th April about Commercial Rental Auctions coming in the Queen’s speech… well here it is and more.

There are a lot of changes coming, notably three new Bills targeting the property industry.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

The Key Points:

  • Local leaders will be able to force landlords to rent out commercial properties that have been vacant for over a year via Commercial Rental Auctions
  • Councils will be given powers to transform boarded up shops / derelict buildings
  • Local councils and leaders will be given powers to compulsory purchase properties for housing where it’s needed without the consent of the owner
  • Pavement licensing red tape will be permanently scrapped
  • £1.7bn of temporary business rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure in 2022-23
  • The High Street Task Force will support communities to regenerate the high street

This is all about transforming the high street. I like the idea that Councils want to push in this direction, but I’m also sceptical that they have the resources to be able to do it.

One thing is for sure that in order for retail to thrive there needs to be footfall and so pushing locals to go and use their high streets is key, therefore if residents live above shops this helps solve that problem.

Compulsory purchase orders flummox me. Retail is changing and the space retailers need is changing too. Upper parts, storage, basements, and delivery space are all part of what makes retail exciting so to try and CPO this for housing may stop retailers from being innovative with potential space in a building… and I don’t know about you, but I love going through a shop and spotting an extra retail area and having a nosey through. Or a cafe with tables upstairs with windows that allow you to see the area.

I do love that pavement licensing red tape will be scrapped, outside dining is incredible in the sunshine and it gives tenants more ways to make money from additional seating. 

Renters Reform Bill

The Key Points:

  • ‘No Fault’ Section 21 evictions will be banned
  • Landlords will have strengthened grounds for eviction on tenants who aren’t willingly paying rent or are taking part in anti-social behaviour 
  • A Private Renters Ombudsman will be introduced to solve disputes between landlords and tenants
  • There will be a Decent Homes Standard that all landlords have to abide by
  • A property portal will be set up to help landlords understand their obligations and to give tenants performance info to hold their landlords to account

I think we all knew this was coming. It’s been discussed for years although there’s no concrete detail here. I’d love to know what the ‘strengthened grounds’ are going to be for eviction and how that will work and whether the Private Renters Ombudsman will be able to assist in evictions!

Social Housing Regulation Bill

The Key Points:

  • This will help tenants to hold social landlords to account
  • Regulators will have more power to enforce action
  • Social landlords will have to put tenants’ concerns at the heart of all they do
  • Greater transparency for tenants
  • Aimed at strengthening the regulation of the housing sector

I really wonder whether this will work. Social landlords are terribly funded so don’t have the resources to ‘do better’. It’s a nice idea but I don’t hold out any hopes for these landlords to be able to put tenants’ concerns at the heart of all they do if they can barely afford anyone who will listen. One of my flats is in a block that’s managed by a social housing provider… they have had to reduce costs by getting rid of an actual real life property manager and switching to an online portal where there are admin staff who watch the messages and decide what’s important and what’s not. Let me tell you it does not work.