James Brokenshire MP announces Government measures to deliver homes

Dear Colleague,

Update on measures the government is taking to ensure we deliver the homes this country needs

Making sure the housing market works for everyone is a key priority for this government. Today I have made a written ministerial statement in the House on a number of additional measures this Government is taking to ensure we deliver the homes this country needs and to promote fairness across the housing market.

For this reason, I am announcing that today this Government is:

  • Launching the bidding process for £1billion of this funding through Homes England and are working with the Greater London Authority to launch bidding for a further £1 billion for housing associations in London as soon as possible.
  • Allocating £2.85 million to support the development of 19 new garden villages. These new communities stretch from County Durham in the North to Truro in the South West and have the potential to deliver 73,554 homes.
  • Publishing a Call for Evidence on Tenancy Deposit Reform. I want to understand the scale of the problem of tenants struggling to provide a second deposit while they wait for their first deposit to be returned and seeking new approaches to alleviate this. These ideas could include approaches to allow tenants to directly “passport” their deposit between tenancies.
  • Publishing a consultation on the design and delivery of a New Homes Ombudsman, including on the approval mechanisms and standards that it must meet and on whether a Code of Practice for developers should be underpinned in legislation. We will legislate to mandate that developers of new build homes belong to this Ombudsman. The consultation will run until 22 August 2019 and is available on the government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/redress-for-purchasers-of-new-build-homes-and-the-new-homes-ombudsman
  • Publishing our response to the technical consultation on reforms to the leasehold system. From this consultation we have decided to legislate to reduce ground rents on future leases to a peppercorn of £0, to mandate that freeholders and managing agents must provide leasehold information within 15 days and set the maximum fee for providing this information at £200 (plus VAT) when a home is sold and to give freeholders on private and mixed-use estates the right to challenge the reasonableness of estate rent charges and the right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new property manager. We will bring forward the legislation to implement these changes as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The full government response can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementing-reforms-to-the-leasehold-system
  • Taking steps to vary contracts with developers to ban the sale of leasehold houses within the current Help to Buy Scheme. This builds on our previous announcement that the new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme from 2021 will not be used to support the unjustified use of leasehold houses. There may be exceptions in the rare cases where they can be justified.
  • Making clear that the forthcoming Accelerated Planning Green Paper must explore new approaches to meeting the cost of the planning service. We will invite innovative proposals to pilot new approaches to meeting these where this improves performance, including considering whether local authorities could recover a greater proportion of these costs and reinvest the additional revenue into improving the speed and quality of planning services.

Yesterday the Prime Minister also announced that we will shortly be consulting on the removal of Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. This will end so-called ‘no fault evictions’. As part of the consultation, we will also review the existing grounds for possession, provide additional grounds for when landlords need to move into or sell their property and reform the court process for housing cases to ensure landlords can swiftly and smoothly regain their property where they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Rt Hon JAMES BROKENSHIRE MP

28 June 2019