Thursday 3rd October
In a new feature for the RLA’s Campaigns and News Centre the team will bring you the latest news on the PRS from Westminster and beyond. This could be anything from Parliamentary questions, Commons reports, thinktank reports and research.
Government Proposed Measures on Section 21 Will Make Housing Market “Fit for the 21st Century” Says Minister
MHCLG has responded to The Marquess of Lothian’s (Conservative) written question asking how many tenants over the age of 60 currently live in private rental accommodation; whether this proportion of older people in private rental accommodation is increasing, and if so, how rapidly; and what plans the Government has, if any, to take action to increase security for older tenants, including repealing section 21 of the Housing Act to prevent landlords from being able to evict tenants at short notice without giving a reason.
The MHCLG Minister in the Lords, Viscount Younger of Leckie, responded:
“The latest English Housing Survey for 2017-18 estimates that there are 379,000 households where the Household Reference Person is 65 years and older, the age range for which data is collated by the annual English Housing Survey. The proportion of people aged 65 or over in the private rented sector has remained broadly stable at 8-9 per cent since 2014/15.
“We know that security of tenure is a concern for many in the private rented sector, including older renters. That is why the Government announced in April that it proposes to create new rules around ending a tenancy by reviewing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. These proposals are currently subject to consultation until 12 October and accompanied by a package of court reforms to make the system faster and simpler. The Government’s proposed measures will provide greater certainty for tenants and make the housing market fit for the 21st century.”
Home Secretary Responds to Home Affairs Committee Questions on Immigration System in Event of No Deal Brexit
The Home Affairs Select Committee has published a letter it has received from the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, on the Home Office’s the Home Office’s plans for immigration in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In it she notes:
“In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, free movement as it currently stands under EU law will end on 31 October. However, much of the free movement framework will remain in place under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 until Parliament passes primary legislation to repeal it. Ahead of that, the Government will introduce some specific changes, reflecting that we are no longer part of the EU, to increase security and better protect the UK public.”
The letter goes on to say that:
- Much of the free movement framework will remain in place after 31st October until Parliament passes primary legislation to repeal it.
- EEA citizens who arrive in the UK up to 31st October 2019 will be able to apply for the EUSS up to 31st December 2020 in a no-deal, but any individual would need to provide evidence, such as a used travel ticket, to confirm they arrived in the UK before or on 31st October 2019.
- After 31st December 2020 any EEA citizen wanting to live and work in the UK will either need to hold pre-settled status or settled status, Euro TLR or any new status created by changes to the current immigration system, or they will risk being illegally resident in the UK.
- After 31st October, it is the Government’s position that EEA citizens will face “tougher UK rules on criminality and conduct” applying at the border and also when crimes are committed in the UK. However, Border Force staff will not have access to EU criminal databases in the event that the UK leaves without a deal, border crossing arrangements will remain unchanged and EU nationals will not face routine intentions checking.
The letter in full can be accessed at: https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/home-affairs/Correspondence-17-19/190925-Home-Secretary-to-Chair-no-deal-immigration-arrangements.pdf.
In response, the Committee has written to the Home Secretary with further questions. This letter can be accessed at: https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/home-affairs/Correspondence-17-19/191001-Chair-to-Home-Secretary-no-deal-immigration-arrangements.pdf.
Quarterly Fall in New Build Dwelling Starts in England According to New Statistics
MHCLG has published the latest new build dwellings statistics for England for the period April to June 2019. They can be accessed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/835887/House_Building_Release_June_2019.pdf. Of note:
- On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 37,220 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter, a 2% decrease compared to the previous 3 months and an 8% decrease on a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 45,190 (seasonally adjusted), a 4% increase from the previous quarter and 11% higher than a year ago.
- Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 160,640 in the year to June 2019, a 1% decrease compared with the year to June 2018. During the same period, completions totalled 173,660 an increase of 8% compared with last year.
- Private enterprise new build dwelling starts (seasonally adjusted) in the June quarter 2019 are down by 2% from the previous quarter, and completions are up by 2%. Starts by housing associations are 4% lower compared to the last quarter, but completions are up by 20%.
- All starts between April and June 2019 are now 117% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 and 24% below the March quarter 2007 peak. All completions between April and June 2019 are 79% above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 7% below the March quarter 2007 peak.
MHCLG Publishes Toolkit to Support Council Enforce Against Rogue Landlords
MHCLG has published an interactive tool kit to help local authorities enforce against rogue landlords and letting agents. It can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-rented-sector-learning-toolkit-for-local-authorities.