Property world’s reactions to Queen’s Speech

Alex Johnson

2caf34016e4167012d6039c528601751 Property worlds reactions to Queens SpeechThere wasn’t a huge emphasis on property and housing in today’s Queen’s Speech although there was mention of reforming housing benefit expenditure and “encouraging people to make sensible decisions about what accommodation they can reasonably afford”. There was also confirmation of the various Help to Buy initiatives announced in the last Budget.

Caroline Kenny, Executive at the UK Association of Letting Agents, said that the UKALA welcomed the Government’s announcement that under a new Immigration Bill, private landlords will be legally responsible to check the immigration status of tenants and ensure that properties are only let to tenants who have the legal right to live in Britain. “This is a logical step,” she said, “and one that will be positively received by the industry, demonstrating better regulation within the private rented sector.For the majority of letting agents, highlighting any immigration irregularities is already usual practice by undertaking thorough identity checks, including taking copies of prospective tenant’s passports, as well as work permits and resident visas where appropriate, which are then presented to their landlord clients for approval.”

Stephen Thornton, UK Director of External Affairs at the RICS, said that the Queen’s Speech contained little that will excite the property and construction industry. “Help To Buy has great potential to get more homes built and more people onto the property ladder but the government needs to quickly announce the detail of the scheme,” he said, “particularly how it intends to deal with buy to let properties and those in negative equity. Without urgent attention to detail, the government could end up with the opposite of what it intended – rising prices with many more locked out of the property market forever.

“The government’s proposals to introduce a duty on all landlords to ensure that their tenants are in the UK legally will impose more red tape on all landlords, particularly the growing number of ‘amateur’ buy to let landlords. Government must also make sure that the proposals do not increase costs to renters which they can often ill afford. ‘Amateur’ landlords operate without proper training or guidance, putting themselves and their tenants at risk. The government has stubbornly refused to look at introducing better laws to protect both landlords and tenants – it is unacceptable that it expects the property industry to deliver its immigration policy.”

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