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30% of leasehold dwellings are houses, according to new government estimates

Week in Westminster

Published: 7 April 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

In 2014-15 there were 4 million private leasehold dwellings in England, according to new government estimates. Of these 57% were owner occupied, with the remainder privately owned and let in the private rented sector. The government estimates that there were 2.8 million leasehold houses representing 30% of the total number of leasehold dwellings.

Shadow housing minister John Healey has said that leaseholders are unprotected from “rip-off rises in ground rents from developers or management companies” and has called the practice “little better than legalised extortion”. Labour pledges to give leaseholders security from unreasonable ground rents and end the use of leasehold ownership in new housing developments. The government has also promised action to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold within its housing white paper. Last week, communities secretary Sajid Javid called on developers to end the practice of selling newly-built houses on a leasehold basis “for no obvious reason”, and would look at ensuring properties sold with the support of the Help to Buy scheme are done so on acceptable terms.

Tax changes for private landlords

The government’s tax changes for private landlords came into effect this week. The relief on borrowing costs has been reduced to the basic rate of income tax, and over the next three years will taper down to zero. Our News & Views article explains.

Lifetime ISA

Meanwhile this week has also seen the launch of the new Lifetime ISA. According to a BBC News report, this has been a bit of a damp squib with banks and building societies either not ready to offer LISA’s immediately or preferring the existing Help to Buy ISA.

Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill

The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill has passed its second reading in the House of Lords. Both Liberal Democrat’s Baroness Hamwee and Labour’s Baroness Chakrabarti referred specifically to our support for this legislation. The minister Lord Keen of Elie said that financial institutions would be protected in their dealings with guardians in much the same way as they are when they deal with people acting under powers of attorney. “Most importantly, they will be able to see the extent of the guardian’s authority to act on the face of the guardianship order made by the court and will be able to rely on it.” Lord Keen confirmed that some of the guardianship scheme’s detail would be set out in rules of court, regulations and statutory guidance. The Bill is unlikely to come into force earlier than one year after royal assent.

Ban on letting agent fees paid by private tenants consultation

As announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, the government has published a consultation paper invites views on how a ban on letting agent fees paid by private tenants in England should be implemented and enforced.

Crackdown on rogue landlords

New rules came into force this week to help crackdown on rogue landlords. Councils are now able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences.  Rent repayment orders which can be issued to penalise landlords managing or letting unlicensed properties have also been extended to cover a wider range of situations.

Extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants

The CLG committee held an inquiry into the government’s proposals to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. The government has responded to the Committee’s report on the subject.   

Wales’ first new tax in almost 800 years

The National Assembly for Wales has passed the Bill which will introduce Wales’ first new tax in almost 800 years. Land transaction tax, which will replace stamp duty land tax, will come into effect on 1 April 2018. The revenue raised will help to fund public services in Wales.

Teresa Pearce MP to stand down as shadow communities secretary

Labour MP Teresa Pearce has announced her intention to stand down from her role as shadow communities secretary after the local elections next month. Jeremy Corbyn is expected to offer the position to shadow local government and housing minister Roberta Blackman-Woods.

And finally...

A new research centre to inform UK housing policy has launched this week. The Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation announced the new UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). The CaCHE work programme will focus on six overlapping themes:

  • Housing and the economy
  • Understanding housing markets: demand and need, supply and delivery
  • Housing aspirations, choices and outcomes
  • Housing, poverty, health, education and employment
  • Housing and neighbourhood design, sustainability and place-making
  • Multi-level governance.