By Andrew Boulton and Matthew Stokes


Published 13 November 2023


The King's speech, delivered on the 7th of November, contained few surprises for the property sector. It set out a legislative agenda that continues reform of the housing market through the introduction of a new Leasehold and Freehold Bill and additions to the Renters (Reform) Bill. It also outlined the next steps for the Protect Duty (Martyn's Law).

Leasehold and Freehold Bill

The stated aim of the Bill is to promote fairness in the housing market. It seeks to do this in a few ways:

  • Reducing the cost and hassle for homeowners to acquire their freehold, extend their lease or exercise their right to manage.
  • Increasing the standard leasehold term extension from 90 to 990 years and reduce ground rents to £0.
  • Removing the two-year requirement before a tenant can exercise its right to acquire its freehold or lease extension.
  • Increasing the 25% non-residential limit to 50%.
  • Requiring the provision of prescribed landlord information within a set period and for a set fee.
  • Requiring transparency around service changes and extend the redress scheme so it will cover more landlords.
  • Homeowners that live in a mixed tenure or private estates will be given the same protections as leaseholders.
  • Terminating the presumption for leaseholders to pay landlord's costs when challenging poor service.
  • Ensuring freeholders and developers observe their obligations to fund building remediation work by introducing protective measures to ensure the Building Safety Act operates as it is intended.
  • Introducing a ban on the creation of new leasehold homes save in "exceptional circumstances".
  • Introducing a consultation on a cap on existing ground rents.

Renters (Reform) Bill

Some of the amendments to the Bill include:

  • Committing to abolish no fault evictions, introduce stronger grounds for landlords seeking possession and establish a streamlined court process.
  • Introducing additional powers to deal with anti-social tenants.
  • Introducing a right for tenants to request a pet which a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse.
  • Providing for the creation of a digital Private Rented Property Portal for those in the PRS sector (landlords, tenants, Councils)
  • Protections for the student market and those in receipt of benefits or that have families.
  • Enhanced power for dealing with criminal landlords and introducing protection for those in the PRS

The government has also stated its commitment to:

  • Speeding up the court process to enable landlords to regain possession of their property; and
  • Scrapping a commitment for landlords to meet EPC C rating or above from 2025.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises Bill)

The Bill supporting Martyn's law will be subject to a further consultation to ensure that it strikes a balance between protection and the administrative burden and cost falling on smaller operators.

Source: THE KING’S SPEECH 2023, 7 November 2023

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