6 things Letting Agents need to know about the General Election

28 May 2024

From the Renters (Reform) Bill to political party manifestos, here is everything letting agents need to know about the upcoming general election.

Following Rishi Sunak's surprise election announcement, there is a great deal for letting agents and landlords to digest regarding the future of the private rental sector and the government. Now is the time for letting agents to understand what will happen in the upcoming months and how to prepare.

From the dissolution of parliament to the Renters (Reform) Bill not turning into law, letting agents are already affected by the surprise announcement of a general election. 

Here is everything letting agents need to know ahead of 4 July:

  1. The Renters (Reform) Bill wasn’t passed before the general election
  2. The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill has been passed into law
  3. Parliament will be dissolved on 30 May
  4. What do letting agents currently feel about the general election
  5. Political party's pledges and manifestos
  6. Register to vote for the general election

1. The Renters (Reform) Bill wasn’t passed before the general election

On 24 May, the government was prorogued, which means no further business or bills can be passed. This is so government officials can tie up loose ends before parliament is officially dissolved on 30 May.

Because of this, the Renters (Reform) Bill, which was in the committee stage in the House of Lords, did not have time to pass and become law before dissolution.

The bill may still be law in the future, depending on the next government, but the general election has significantly delayed its process. 

According to a poll Goodlord hosted on LinkedIn, 68% of our followers believe the Renters (Reform) Bill will be reworked into the next government. Any future government will need to rework and resubmit the bill for it to pass and receive royal assent.

Find out more about what the general election means for the Renters (Reform) Bill here

2. The Leasehold and Freehold Bill has been passed into law

Despite the Renters (Reform) Bill not passing before the general election, all is not lost for the private rental sector. Before the prorogue was officially announced on 24 May, the House of Lords passed the Leasehold and Freehold Bill.

According to Property Industry Eye, sources from the Labour Party have stated that “while they want to strengthen the bill, they are prepared to back the legislation as it stands”.

This bill initially aimed to remove ground rents from leasehold properties, which has been heavily debated during both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In April 2024, The Times reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is to announce the annual charges levied on leaseholders will now be capped at £250, rather than the initial promise of zero.

While the bill has been passed, it is unclear whether this ground rent cap will be implemented. Lettings agents need to keep on top of the implementation of this bill both before and after it receives royal assent.

🏢 Find out more about the Leasehold and Freehold bill here 🏡

3. Parliament will be dissolved on 30 May

On 22 May, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak requested King Charles to dissolve the government so a general election could take place.

Dissolution marks the official end of parliament. It differs from a government recess as the dissolution “discharges” MPs from their roles within parliament, as part of the general election process. While the prorogation of government took place on 24 May, the dissolution means that no further meetings or progression of bills will occur. 

MPs must also give up their seats within the House of Commons to prepare and campaign for the next government.

When the dissolution of parliament is announced, the date will also be set for the first meeting after the general election. Letting agents should know when parliament is back in session to understand the progression of upcoming policies.

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4. How letting agents currently feel about the general election

A report conducted by Goodlord and the NRLA found that 39% of letting agents know who they will vote for in any UK-wide election. This is 6% less than landlords, with 45% confident about what political party they will vote for.

Understanding how letting agents and landlords feel about the upcoming election can help others in the industry determine what key policies and factors they should keep an eye out for.

Even if letting agents aren’t decided on who to vote for, our Renting Done Right report can help others understand what key policies and influences can help sway others with a general election looming. 

Oli Sherlock, Managing Director of Insurance at Goodlord, gives an example: “Nearly 70% of letting agents could be swayed by housing pledges. That’s really significant. However, any future pledges need to be logical and in the best interests of both landlords and tenants in order to support a more sustainable private rental sector”.

📚 Download our Renting Done Right report to find out more 📚

5. Political party’s pledges and manifestos

A manifesto sets out the policies a political party would deliver if they win the election. This can include topics such as renting, building more homes, the NHS or Immigration.

It’s important to note that this is not a legal requirement a political party must achieve if elected. So letting agents should take the politician's promises with a pinch of salt.

According to the Institue for Goverment, manifestos from all political parties can be expected between 5-16 June.

However, there is no set date on when manifestos should be launched. From previous elections, Labour and Conservative parties usually have launched their manifestos 18-29 days before the election. 

Before we wait for the political party’s manifestos, Labour has already released its “five missions to change Britain”, which focuses on building homes, Great British energy and the NHS. 

Find out more about Labour and Conservatives plans for the private rental sector

6. Register to vote for the general election

Letting agents must register to vote if they plan to partake in the general election on 4 July and have their opinions heard.

If you have already registered to vote in a previous election, whether that is local, police or even general, you will not need to register again. 

However, if you have changed your address or your name before the last election, you should check whether you need to reregister on the government’s website.

If you need to register to vote or register for postal or proxy voting, here are the deadlines you need to be aware of:

  • 18 June: Deadline to register to vote
  • 19 June: Deadline to register for a postal vote
  • 26 June: Deadline to apply for a proxy vote

You can check if you need to register through the Government website

When voting, letting agents should remember to bring any form of photo identification, otherwise they will be turned away.

This article is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. Visit gov.uk for more information. 

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