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HomeSector InsightsReal EstateWhat did the latest wash-up mean for property laws?

What did the latest wash-up mean for property laws?

After current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called in a snap election for the 4th of July a month ago, the final session before a change in government – the parliamentary wash-up – has arrived with less time available than some might expected.

While the much-anticipated Renters Reform Bill didn’t make it through before parliament was dissolved, the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 (LAFRA) did receive Royal Assent. Let’s break down what this means for different property stakeholders.

Renters reform on hold (for now)

The Renters Reform Bill remains a topic of much discussion. The proposed bill aimed to introduce significantly improved health and safety standards.

Among the modifications, the following two would’ve been the most influential:

  • Ending fixed-term tenancies: The bill proposed granting all tenants longer-term security by potentially scrapping fixed-term tenancies and introducing “open-ended” ones with a right to remain.
  • Banning no-fault evictions (section 21): Landlords would have faced stricter limitations on evictions, with “no-fault” variants potentially becoming a thing of the past.

Knowing the severity of these reforms, many landlords and agencies followed the process closely. While there will be no immediate changes, the Labour party has pledged to reintroduce a Renters Reform Bill if elected. This means the debate is likely to continue.

“With party manifestos […], there is a consensus between the leading parties that renters reforms must come back into the conversation under a new government. So we will ensure that all of our landlords are informed of any changes to come,” says Garth Atkins, Managing Director of Lettings at London-based estate agency Foxtons.

Leaseholders gain more control

LAFRA represents a major victory for leaseholders in both England and Wales. Previously, extending a lease or buying a freehold could be a complex and expensive process. The Act aims to make this process fairer and more affordable. Key adjustments include:

  • Easier lease extensions: It introduces a new valuation methodology that should make extending leases cheaper. It will also benefit from a streamlined legal process.
  • Challenging unfair charges: The Act empowers leaseholders to hold freeholders accountable for unreasonable charges. It clarifies the process for challenging them and reduces the financial burden on those who need to take legal action.
  • Greater control over buildings: Leaseholders will now have a stronger voice in managing their buildings; it makes it easier to take over or appoint an agent.

The latest changes represent a significant step forward for leaseholders, but renters will need to wait and see what the future holds for their rights.

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