What Does the UK’s Levelling Up Plan and Mission Ten Mean for Landlords?
On 2 February 2022, the Government published its Levelling Up White Paper with the stated goal of enacting a “complete ‘system change’ of how government works.”
Among the Paper’s “12 Missions” — targeted to be reached by 2030 — is Mission Ten.
Mission Ten is intended to ‘level up’ the private housing sector. According to the Paper: “By 2030, renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest-performing areas.”
One doesn’t have to read too closely between the lines to see that in order to achieve the stated goals of Mission Ten, the Government would have to significantly reform current real estate law and reengineer the fundamentals of how property ownership works.
If you’re a landlord, you’re no doubt what Mission Ten means for you. While the eventual shape of the legislation is impossible to predict, here’s what we already know.
Is ‘Levelling Up’ Already Law?
The short answer is no. But Mission 10 is likely to become law in some shape or form, and landlords should prepare for this probability.
White papers are Government policy documents proposing future legislation. Once a white paper completes numerous stages in Parliament, the content is agreed as a Bill and then receives the Royal Assent to become law.
Not every white paper survives this process, but it’s best to prepare as best as possible for the eventuality that Mission Ten becomes law.
How Might Mission Ten Impact Landlords and Property Owners?
Mission Ten heralds a significant shift in the traditional balance of power between landlords and tenants.
For landlords, the primary concern if Mission Ten is enacted is that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants using Section 21 no fault evictions.
Landlords will be forced to find other reasons in law (preferably mandatory grounds) to evict.
The eviction process will be protracted — to the benefit of tenants and the detriment of landlords.
Additionally, the introduction of a National Landlord Register could punish or even eliminate good landlords if the cost of compliance increases.
What are Mission Ten’s Goals and How Do They Impact Landlords?
Here are the main aims Mission Ten seeks to accomplish by 2030:
- The Government will introduce new legislation to enhance the quality and regulation of social housing and give residents performance information to hold landlords to account — helping to ensure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take quick and effective action to put things right.
- Publishing a further White Paper in Spring 2022 to consult on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever
- Consider establishing a National Landlord Register — leading to fines and bans to prevent repeat offending landlords from allowing renters to live in unacceptable conditions
- Ending Section 21 “no fault evictions, which currently allow landlords to evict tenants from their homes without having to give a reason.
- Providing renters with a “secure path to ownership”
- Increasing the number of first-time buyers in all regions
- Decreasing the number of non-decent rented homes by 50% with the most significant improvements in the lowest-performing areas. The Government plans to achieve this with a new £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund. The fund will provide loans to small and medium-sized developers and support the Government’s broader regeneration agenda in areas considered a priority for Levelling Up.
- To build “more genuinely affordable social housing” with a new Social Housing Regulation Bill following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017.
With Levelling Up and Mission Ten on the horizon, obtaining legal advice when dealing with tenants is bound to become more crucial than ever.
Helix Law specialises in property disputes and offers a reasonable fixed fee service nationally to assist landlords to regain possession of their property.