Property Reforms On The Horizon

Several topics were raised in the recent Queen’s Speech to Parliament which was delivered by the Prince of Wales in Her Majesty’s absence. These topics relate to issues within the property sector, and we’ve examined how this could affect our clients.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill would give Local Councils the power to force landlords to rent out commercial properties, to revitalise high streets and rejuvenate town centres.

Those retail units that have been sat vacant for over a year would be liable. Boris Johnson aims to “restore neighbourhood pride”.

Whilst we are fortunate in the geographical areas that we cover that this may not apply, in some instances there will be other reasons why retail units lie empty and it’s not just down to occupiers believing that the occupational costs are too high. Many of our clients are pro-active in considering various leasing arrangements for vacant units, particularly if those units have been on the market for some time. That can include both flexible leasing terms and concessions relating to costs.

Councils will also be given greater powers to drive regeneration through Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s). These CPO’s allow acquiring authorities to acquire buildings without needing the consent of the owner for public benefit. This may include acquiring land to build social housing or other regeneration projects.

In addition, to support a ‘thriving retail community’, pavement licensing red-tape will be permanently scrapped, freeing up businesses to serve food al fresco and attract diners all year round.

We’ll be following these topics closely and continue to update our clients as these new reforms progress.