Breaking news this morning following the leak last week – the government has published their Levelling Up White Paper – and the impact of matters contained within could shake up the private rented sector and have far reaching implications on landlords and tenants alike.

What is a White Paper?

A “White Paper” is a policy document published by the government which sets our their intentions for future legislation. White papers form the basis of discussion and consultation before the final bill(s) are put forward before government to be voted into law.

What is the purpose of the Levelling Up White Paper?

The purpose of this document is to bring about system change across both the Government and the country. The White Paper sets out the changes required, and how these will be implemented to “level up” the UK. The paper contains 12 national missions that are to be completed by 2030, and are quantifiable allowing them to be tested and measured.

How does this apply to landlords?

There are three main elements within the White Paper that will affect landlords: The introduction of a “Decent Homes Standard”, the introduction of a National Landlord Register and the abolition of the Section 21 Eviction Notice.

The Decent Homes Standard

Homes in the private rented sector will need a meet a mimumum standard known as the “Decent Homes Standard”. There is nothing new about this standard, and you can find information about it by clicking here. We are in support of this government move, as decent landlords will not be affected, only those who do not maintain their properties and protect their tenants.

The National Landlord Register

There is minimal information provided within the White Paper on this proposal so we will be tentatively waiting for further details to be released. There is likely to be a minimum standard or accreditation to join the register, or it may be that landlords can avoid registration by using a registered letting agent such as ourselves. If you would like more information about our services, please do get in touch.

The Abolition of the Section 21 Notice

The abolition of the Section 21 notice has been under discussion for a number of years, but its inclusion in the White Paper shows that the implementation is moving closer. The idea behind the abolition is to prevent landlords from evicting tenants with no formal reason – hence the Section 21 procedure is known as the “no fault eviction”.

Giving tenants more security should not be seen as a bad thing given the number of “rogue” landlords operating in the UK, however in our opinion, a sharp reform of the remaining eviction process “known as the “Section 8″ procedure” needs to be completed before the loss of the Section 21. At the very least, the process needs to be shortened and simplified, with additional grounds added and all grounds to be made mandatory. We simply cannot be placed in a position where landlords cannot regain possession of their property when there is a genuine requirement to do so.

What Happens Next?

According to Government officials, £4.8 billion has be commiteed to this project and its implementation although there are some doubts over the contents of the paper and the ambitiousness of the 12 national missions with regards to funding. The next step will be for the contents of the paper to be discussed and debated, until a draft bill is produced ready to be put forward before Government and eventually enacted into law.

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