Landlord Knowledge - Home of the Savvy Buy to Let Property Investor

Major property reforms at risk due to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s snap general election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has cast doubt over the future of pivotal property legislation, including the Renters (Reform) Bill and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, due to the snap general election he has called.

Legislative Uncertainty
With Parliament set to dissolve for election campaigning, there appears to be insufficient time to pass significant pieces of legislation such as the Renters (Reform) Bill and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill. Both pieces of legislation had made progress through the House of Commons and were under review in the Lords. However, the sudden announcement of a general election on July 4th has likely halted these reforms indefinitely.

Political Negotiations and Impacts
During the upcoming ‘wash-up’ period—when Parliament finalizes its business before suspension—both Conservative and Labour parties will negotiate which bills can be swiftly enacted. It remains uncertain whether these key property bills will be prioritized or if they will be lost in the shuffle, depending on the outcomes of these discussions. Dr. Ruth Fox, Director at the Hansard Society, highlighted the precarious position of such controversial bills, noting, “It depends on what the Opposition allows to go onto the statute book. The Government has to accept it loses the whole bill, or at least some of the controversial elements taken out.”

Stakeholder Reactions
The potential loss of these reforms has prompted reactions from various industry stakeholders. The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) expressed disappointment, particularly given the extensive lobbying that had aimed to ensure the Renters (Reform) Bill would be equitable for both tenants and landlords. Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, stated, “If true, it is hugely disappointing that this Bill will not now make it into law. There’s been too much dither and delay in government, and a failure to be clear about how to ensure changes would work in practice.”

Alison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director at Leaders Romans Group, also voiced concerns, “The much-anticipated Renters (Reform) Bill will not pass into legislation due to the upcoming general election. This Bill has been in development for several years, aimed at addressing critical issues that impact both tenants and landlords.” She emphasised the need for future government to prioritise comprehensive housing policies.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, added, “The legislation was introduced very late on and whilst attempting to please everyone, it failed to please anyone. Many agents will be relieved that the current government’s plans to meddle with fixed-term tenancies and reforming eviction grounds with little realisation of the unintended consequences will no longer pass.”

As the UK approaches the election, the property sector remains in limbo, with critical reforms hanging in the balance. The outcome of the election could significantly shape the future landscape of the UK’s property market.