Sunak is new PM – here’s what we know about his housing policies

Throughout the Boris Johnson-led government of 2019 to mid-2022 Sunak fell in line over the Renters Reform Bill and Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper; he made few comments explicitly about landlords or tenants, save to support the general thrust of recent reforms and also backing the successive eviction bans during the Covid period. 


It is expected that he will continue with the long-standing Conservative commitment to scrap Section 21 powers.


In August Sunak said he wanted today’s renters, along with young adults obliged to live at home with their parents, to become capitalists - and that meant getting their hands on capital in the form of home ownership.


He told Sky News in one interview: “We are the standard bearers for capitalism. But we can't expect future generations to share our belief in capitalism if they can't get their hands on capital. That's why I'll do whatever it takes to build affordable, plentiful housing, building the next generation of Conservative voters.”


More broadly on housing, the former Chancellor said he wanted developers to finish a project before they are granted new planning permission for other plots in the same local area, while local authorities having greater compulsory purchase powers to buy undeveloped land at a discount if it has not been built on within an agreed time frame.


To avoid existing communities having too many new homes without appropriate local facilities, he also pledged a new 'infrastructure first guarantee', which aims to ensure all new homes are supported by enough local doctors, schools and roads.


Sunak’s most explicit expression of housing policies was set out in a written response to questions from the Housing Today publication. In that response he said he was against the previous Tory manifesto commitment to build 300,000 homes a year in England, because he now rejected “arbitrary top-down numbers”.


Instead his team said: “Rishi does not believe in arbitrary, top down numbers. What matters is helping councils to get local plans in place more quickly to deliver beautiful homes, which communities can support.” 


The statement added Sunak wanted to introduce reforms to tackle land banking, remove barriers for small builders and deliver more homes through modern methods of construction. He also plans to implement a “balanced approach” to planning fees, which his team said will provide funding certainly for planning departments but also not “place disproportionate burdens on smaller developers”. 


Letting Agent Today

Graham Norwood

24th October 2022