New government white paper plans to reform “broken” housing market

housing market image

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has unveiled new plans to reform the UK housing market.
Speaking in the House of Commons on the 7th Feb, Javid presented plans to reform the UK’s “broken” housing market through the aptly entitled white paper Fixing our Broken Housing Market.
As expected, the reforms focus on stimulating UK housing supply, with the majority of the white paper’s 29 key points covering plans to help developers build more homes faster.
A secondary theme of the paper, though, was on the redistribution of power in the private rental sector, and the government’s new focus on “safeguarding” tenants will be of interest to both landlords and tenants alike.
Although vague, Javid said the government would “go further” to introduce longer tenancies for privately renting tenants and will “improve safeguards [for tenants] in the private rented sector.” Where the Cameron administration focused on getting first-time buyers onto the property ladder, the May administration appears to be embracing the benefits of a healthy private-rented sector.
Also of interest to letting agents is the fact tenant fees will be banned – although it’s something most will have been aware of for a while.
Broken down, the white paper’s 29 key points were as follows;


1. Ensuring all areas of the country have adequate homebuilding plans. The plans should cut disputes over where new properties should go.

2. Reducing the bureaucracy associated with the above plans. Communities should be well-equipped to develop their own plans; property developers should be able to interpret them without question.

3. Ensuring all plans are guided by the need for new homes, and that local authorities and neighbours are on the same page when planning

4. Improving the transparency of land ownership. Developers should be able to easily determine where and when they can build

5. Reducing the red tape associated with current planning cases and deterring unnecessary planning appeals

Land supply

6. Improving the supply of land for development. The government will look to release more small and medium-sized sites and will allow rural communities to grow

7. Despite the above, the government will continue to protect London’s Green Belt. The government will only consider amending Green Belt boundaries when authorities with an excessive demand for housing have exhausted all other options

8. Making better use of land in urban locations to provide more homes in areas of greater concentration. The government is happy to drive up population densities, pointing out that London is in fact one of the least dense cities of its European equivalents

9. Reforming the way land supply is assessed to stop authorities planning new homes from being undermined


10. Co-ordinating government investment to prevent delays in building

11. Making appropriate utilities available, again, to prevent building delays

12. Minimising unnecessary delays caused by inadequate infrastructure and planning conditions

13. Reducing the skills shortage in the construction industry


14. Ensuring developers are held to account for the delivery of new homes

15. Holding more local authorities to account through a test on housing delivery


16. Supporting and increasing custom-built homes. Developers will be given greater access to land and more freedom over design

17. Encouraging an increased pace of construction through the Accelerated Construction programme. The government will support those who can build homes at a faster rate than traditional builders.

18. Supporting local authorities who have ambitious home building plans

19. Increasing productivity in the construction industry by fostering modern construction techniques


20. Enabling small to medium sized developers to invest and grow – in particular through the £3bn Home building fund; set aside to increase the number of homes built in England

21. Encouraging institutional investors to invest in private rented housing

22. Encouraging housing development that meets the expected needs of future generations. Javid believes the plans will “help our children and our children’s children”


23. Continuing to support first-time buyers. David Cameron’s Help to Buy scheme will continue, as will the Starter Homes scheme

24. Continuing the Affordable Homes Programme so that those priced out of the market have access to appropriate housing

25. Making renting fairer for tenants – although at this stage it’s not entirely clear what the term “fairer” might imply

26. Tacking unfair leasehold terms – leaseholds have been on the rise of late and terms are often thrust upon first-time buyers

27. Reducing the number of empty homes and supporting areas most affected by second homes

28. Ensuring vulnerable people have greater access to affordable housing

29. Stopping homelessness before it starts. The government plans to support at risk households before occupants spiral into homelessness. It also sets out to reduce rough sleeping.

Those in need of advice following the planned reforms can by all means get in touch. As landlords ourselves, we’re well-equipped to offer advice to both landlords and letting agents alike.