In London, Rishi Sunak’s hopes for re-election hinge on a set of new laws unveiled during the recent King’s Speech by King Charles III, outlining the Conservative Party’s agenda for the upcoming pre-election period.
With the impending deadline of the 2025 election, Sunak used this speech to highlight his priorities, setting them against the rising opposition of the Labour Party, currently leading in the polls. Here we explore some of the legislative proposals and their implications:
Leasehold and Freehold Bill
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has often criticised the leasehold system. However, rather than completely abolishing the system, this bill proposes a series of reforms aimed at providing homeowners with a ‘fairer deal.’
Under these reforms, standard leases will be extended, and ground rent charges will be eliminated when properties are renewed. Additionally, the bill intends to stop the construction of new leasehold houses. While these reforms represent a significant overhaul, there’s anticipation for opposition from Labour and certain Conservative MPs who think that the proposed changes fall short of addressing the issue.
Renter’s Reform Bill
This bill pledges to fulfil the Conservative Party’s commitment to eliminate ‘no-fault evictions,’ but with significant conditions attached. The government proposes to terminate the rule that enables landlords to swiftly remove tenants only once ‘stronger possession grounds and a new court process’ are established—essentially delaying decisive action.
The bill introduces extra safeguards for landlords, streamlining the process to ‘evict anti-social tenants,’ while also granting tenants ‘the right to request a pet.’ This move may likely satisfy a group of Conservative MPs who are also landlords, but it is expected to provoke strong opposition from housing activists and campaigners.
Automated Vehicles Bill
The Automated Vehicles Bill serves to establish the legal structure for self-driving vehicles, requiring that only vehicles capable of meeting to all road traffic regulations will be allowed on the road. The bill outlines fines and corrective measures for companies in case of accidents, while also introducing an accident investigation system.
The bill proposes that drivers behind the wheel during a self-driving vehicle accident will be granted immunity from prosecution. This is likely to cause a stir but the industry’s persistent advocacy for legislation ensures strict criteria before a vehicle is certified as self-driving.
The objective is to refine the 27-year-old legislation regarding dispute resolution, prompted by recommendations made by the Law Commission in September.
These proposed changes aim to give arbitrators the power to make decisions spanning from family law to shipping, particularly in cases deemed to have ‘no real prospect of success.’ The adjustments also seek to impose stricter criteria for suing arbitrators, requiring proof of their unreasonableness, or acting in bad faith before legal action can be taken against them.
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If you are concerned any of the proposed bills will affect you, we welcome the opportunity to discuss any of your legal requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact us today.