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Government Housing Policy Changes

7th February 2022

New Changes to Housing Policy In England, Estate Agents, Property Development

On Wednesday the UK government announced a new raft of policies aimed at “levelling up” the UK. In the white paper, plans of how rules and regulations will be changed in the coming months are laid out. Some key aspects of these new changes directly affect how landlords, homeowners, estate agents and property developers do business and what right they have in the law. Here we will examine the three key policy announcements affecting the property market and what effects they will have on the market. So what is the first major change announced?


The 80/20 rule


In England, funding from Homes England to local councils for brownfield house building was given out according to the 80/20 rule. While this aimed at providing 80% of house building funds to areas with the least accessibility to housing in practice this led to areas such as London and the Home Counties getting the majority of the money pot. However, with the scrapping of the 80/20 rule, funding will be distributed more evenly across England. Areas such as the Midlands and the North will see an increase in the amount of funding they receive for brownfield development with the £1.8 billion pound fund being reallocated there. Additionally, another £120 million will be made available to Metro Mayors to take into account the higher cost of land and construction in urban centres. The goal of this change is to help grow housing stock in less affluent areas instead of continuing to overspend in more prosperous regions.


The Decent Homes Standard and Section 21 Abolition


The second important change for the real estate sector is the creation of a Decent Homes Standard for the entirety of the private rented sector. These new standards will be paired with the abolishment of Section 21 evictions. This will evidently make it harder for landlords to remove tenants from their properties as they now will be required to present specific grounds from a statutory list to end a tenancy. Additionally, the government will also begin a consultation process to set up and introduce a new landlords register. The aim of implementing this change is to help tackle a number of rogue landlords in the country. Fine and bans are aimed at being brought into place to combat repeat offending landlords. The overall objectives of this change are to better protect tenants and to better define the standards expected of landlords and property managers. 


Levelling Up Home Building Fund


The final major change to housing presented in the government white paper was the introduction of a new fund to help build new homes. With £1.5 billion being allocated to the new Levelling Up Home Building Fund, the government aims to rapidly increase the number of houses being built in all English regions. It will be made available to SMEs in the construction sector to help fund new family home construction. The fund will be more readily available in areas “that are a priority for levelling up” however, it has not been laid out exactly where these areas will be. In their white paper the government’s stated aim for this policy was “By 2030, renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas”. While this will increase the number of houses available on the market in the future, demand for housing still remains high across the country, and house prices may continue to rise.


Douglas Haig comments on


“This is the theme the current administration was elected on and has taken some time to be announced.  As you would expect from a Conservative government it is heavily focused on getting people into home ownership, but that is not just a matter of redistributing money; areas such as planning, building regulations and skills all need to be addressed.  


The announcement of a Decent Homes Standard for the PRS could be positive, but only if the standards are set in collaboration with the sector.  The current standard for social housing results in money spent unnecessarily on some areas of the property whilst other areas that you would commonly think would be covered by such a standard are not.  The implementation timescale and support to landlords would also be vital.”


Overall, while the changes announced mostly only affect England it marks a key commitment from the UK government to seriously improving the conditions for tenants as well as aiming to clearly define the obligations expected of landlords. To read the full white paper you can find it on the government website here.

If you want to learn more about how these changes affect your properties please contact us here.