As the Christmas decorations came down and the Easter eggs appear the local supermarket we ask: what will the 2020’s look like for property law?
Property law is changing. From ensuring new homes are more eco-friendly to protecting the rights of tenants, property law on the 31 December 2029 will be much different from 1 January 2020. Below are some of salient changes we can expect to see in the next decade.
What we already know
Below are some of the changes that we already knew prior to the new decade beginning:
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES): from 1 April 2020 a landlord may not continue to let a sub-standard, domestic, privately rented property. This means a property that matches the above criteria with an EPC rating of F or G must be improved prior to 1 April 2020.
Council Tax on empty dwellings: local authorities currently have power to charge a council tax premium of up to 50% on homes that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more. This is in addition to the usual council tax charge for that property.
From 1 April 2020, the premium can be up to 200% for homes empty for more than five years.
From 1 April 2021, the premium can be up to 300% for homes empty for more than ten years.
The United Kingdom leaving the European Union on 31 January 2020: this is not a direct or immediate change to property law however the secondary effects of leaving the European Union will most definitely have an effect on government policies moving forward which will include legislation surrounding property.
What can we expect
Unlike the above, where the changes were planned in the previous decade, below are proposals where the ideas were in existence in the previous decade albeit not put into place:
Fire Safety: the tragic events of Grenfell in June 2017 which caused 72 deaths and left 70 people injured brought fire safety to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. An Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (also known as ‘the Hackitt review’) was published in May 2018; the government will be taking forward all 53 recommendations made by the Hackitt review, going further in some places.
Abolition of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (‘ASTs’): last summer the government published a consultation: ‘Deal for Renting: Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants’. The consultation ended in October 2019 with the government claiming security for tenants in the private rented sector was an important issue. Greater tenant security in the private rented sector is an expected change this decade.
Electric Vehicles: it would appear that electric vehicles are the future of the motoring industry with sales of electric vehicles rising by 144% in the United Kingdom in 2019. The Department for Transport and Office for Low Emissions published consultations on improving the infrastructure surrounding electric vehicles. The consultations advise that amendments should be made to the current Building Regulations for it to be made compulsory for residential and non-residential buildings to include electrical vehicle infrastructure requirements.
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