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Michael Gove whats in the new Housing Secretarys lettings in tray

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Thu 16 Sep 2021

Michael Gove whats in the new Housing Secretarys lettings in tray

A dramatic day, which saw a Cabinet reshuffle seemingly come out of the blue, ended with Michael Gove as the new Housing Secretary and the sacked Robert Jenrick licking his wounds on the backbenches.

While a reshuffle had long been talked about and speculated on, there had been no indication of any imminent Cabinet changes until lunchtime yesterday.

What followed next was more far-reaching and brutal than many had predicted, with Gavin Williamson, Robert Buckland and Jenrick losing their jobs and Dominic Raab demoted to the position of Justice Secretary.

The PM said he wanted to put together a 'strong and united team' to build back better from the pandemic and implement the oft-discussed levelling up agenda.

With regards to property, Jenrick - previously considered a rising star in the party - paid for a series of gaffes and scandals in the last 18 months by being sacked. Later in the afternoon, he was replaced by Michael Gove, the most experienced member of the Cabinet, having been in top office - on and off - for more than a decade.

But what does Gove - who has previously served as Education Secretary, Justice Secretary and Environment Secretary, and challenged twice for the Tory leadership - have in his in-tray from a lettings perspective?

Gove is known for his reformer instincts, which has sometimes led to high-profile clashes in previous roles, but it could encourage those who want to see greater clarity and certainty over rental reform.

That is arguably Gove's biggest challenge from a lettings point of view - and will be one of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government's major undertakings over the next few years.

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A white paper on rental reform - expected to include the scrapping of Section 21, the introduction of lifetime deposits and potentially more on redress schemes - is set to be published this autumn, informing the Renters Reform Bill before it starts its journey through Parliament. There is as yet no date for the release of the white paper or when the Bill may reach the Commons and Lords.

There are also ongoing issues surrounding Right to Rent, leasehold, cladding and evictions that are likely to keep Gove busy in his latest Cabinet position.   

Whether Christopher Pincher, the current Housing Minister, will be part of the team at MHCLG moving forward remains unclear. A reshuffle of junior positions is expected today and should reveal more about Pincher's future.