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Biodiversity net gain requirements

First published in February of 2023, biodiversity net gain requirements specify that, unless exempt, a developer in England must provide a biodiversity net gain (BNG) of at least 10% within the boundary of its development. 

The BNG rules will affect developers of major developments from the rules’ introduction on 12 February 2024 and will affect most small sites starting 2 April 2024, and developers of nationally significant infrastructure projects from late November 2025. This also affects land managers wanting to sell biodiversity units in the BNG market (for example, land managers wanting to sell a piece of land to developers who need off-site biodiversity units to meet the 10% requirement).

BNG is, in essence, a governmental biodiversity credit scheme that forces all new property projects and infrastructure projects to benefit nature instead of destroying it, measured by calculating at least 10% biodiversity net gain in every project. This can be done on-site (ie within the ‘red-line boundary’ of the development), off-site (ie outside the development site), or a mixture of both. If all of these choices are not possible, developers can buy biodiversity credits from the government, income from which the government can use for habitat creation.

Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of Engineering at Clario, says, ‘Development and change are necessary, however, we cannot deny the negative impact they pose to the environment. Government Acts like the BNG [requirements] help balance the synergy between modernisation and sustaining the environment and our natural habitat.’

Strong enforcement of the Building Safety Act

After the worst UK high-rise residential fire in Grenfell Tower in 2017, which claimed the lives of more than 70 people, strict measures on building safety have been in the works - paving the way for the Building Safety Act 2022 (the BSA). 

A significant portion of the BSA called for establishing the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) to monitor the construction of buildings, especially high-rise buildings. The BSR will monitor and regulate all building control professionals, including public and private building control officers, and set professional standards for building construction including requiring risk and general contractor insurance

Planning permissions and adherence to building regulations shall be independently verified by building control professionals that have registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) - registration for which opened in October 2023 and will come into full force by April 2024. 

Principal accountable persons (PAPs) for high-rise buildings must submit safety case reports for an occupied high-rise building to the BSR. As outlined in section 85 of the BSA, which came into force on January 17 2024, a safety case report should include:

  • assessment of building safety risks, and

  • descriptions of the steps taken to manage the safety risks 

Catherine Schwartz, Finance Editor at Crediful, says, ‘Since the implementation of the Building Safety Act, and more of its contents taking full effect in 2024, developers and property owners have since felt the financial burden involved in making sure that all technical assessments and planning are done to pass regulatory requirements. However, this is a measure that’s both necessary and non-negotiable despite its cost to protect the public interest and prevent unexpected tragedies again in the future.’

The Renters Reform Bill

The UK is widely known for the unaffordability of its housing, forcing the hands of many families and individuals to rent instead of buy. However, even rent prices in the UK have become increasingly high, together with old rent practices that make renters unprotected from unreasonable landlords. Statista forecasts an increase of 18% in residential real estate rental rates until 2028 - ignited by the increased unaffordability of buying homes. 

‘The Renters Reform Bill is a crucial step towards improving tenants' rights and protections. By seeking to create a more balanced and equitable rental market for both tenants and landlords, its implementation could lead to significant improvements in the overall well-being of renters,’ said Stephanie Matarazzo, Marketing Director at FastExpert.

The Renters Reform Bill, currently undergoing a lengthy discussion in Parliament, will (if passed and enacted) address certain provisions to bring a better deal to renters, like:

  • abolition of section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, which currently allow a landlord to evict a tenant if they want to repossess their property without having or giving a reason. If passed, landlords can only evict a tenant under certain reasonable circumstances or upon significant prior notice

  • implementation of a single system of periodic tenancies (ie rolling tenancies) where tenancies will roll monthly instead of starting as fixed-term tenancies (eg of 6-month or 12-month duration). However, tenants will need to put in a 2-month notice if they wish to leave so landlords can find a suitable replacement

  • rent increases will still generally only be permitted once per year, for which landlords must give tenants notice for at least 2 months

  • tenants can request permission for pet ownership in the rented property and landlords cannot deny the request unreasonably 

  • mandatory membership of landlords to a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman to aid tenants seeking negotiation and action from a landlord refusing to do so

  • prevention of discrimination against families with children or those receiving benefits from renting homes.

J. Tucker Merrigan, Managing Partner at Sweeney Merrigan, says, ‘In a society where a majority of the population live by rent, it is easy for many landlords to go on a power trip, management and cost-wise. With the Renters Reform Bill in discussion, this gives more leverage to protect tenants from abusive landlords and promote healthy agreements between parties.’

Remote online signatures in property transactions

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations to switch to online transactions and remote work. Because of this, many remote transactions we deemed impossible before are now possible, and property law is no exception, from using AI for contract reviews to electronic signatures for document execution.

Today, property documents can often be signed using electronic signatures, with the use of online video conferences, e-signatures, and electronic stamps. Remote online execution (eg signing) provides enhanced security features against fraud and tampering and a traceable electronic audit trail for the execution process. 

Tony Mariotti, CEO at RubyHome, said, ‘Streamlining legal transactions, especially property law documents, is crucial today. Not only does remote online notarisation offer ease, accessibility, and convenience for the parties involved, but most remote online notarisation platforms also ensure advanced encryptions and multi-factor authentications so that your legal property documents remain confidential even in the online sphere.’

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill

In November 2023, the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament, and the second reading in the House of Lords was recently completed. This Bill aims to help leaseholders in England and Wales. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • increasing the standard lease extension term to 990 years

  • making an easier and quicker process for buying or selling a leasehold

  • introducing cheaper costs and a more straightforward process for extending the lease or purchasing the freehold for existing owners 

  • removing the 2-year requirement for leaseholders to have owned the property before claiming an extension

  • improved transparency over leasehold service charges

  • removing the assumption that leaseholders are responsible for a freeholder’s legal fees when challenging poor practice

Allison Kesselring, Sales Manager at Oaks Roofing and Siding, expresses her thoughts on the bill: ‘The Leasehold and Freehold Bill would greatly empower and improve the rights of leaseholders - a long-awaited commitment by the government on leasehold reform. The currently lacking leasehold laws continue exploiting leaseholds from management agencies and freeholders for their personal financial gain.’

What to look forward to in UK property law in 2024

UK property laws in 2024 are looking towards regulatory changes and new Acts that will protect tenants, regulate rental rates and housing prices, impose strict building and structure planning, and monitor and manage the environmental impacts of all newly built structures. 

With the steady high cost of housing and renting in the UK, legislators should continuously push for laws that would help improve the people’s cost of living while also caring for the public's and the natural environment’s safety and interests. 


If you’re involved with the property sector as landlord, tenant, or property owner, take a look at Rocket Lawyer’s property guides and documents for help navigating the changes 2024 will bring.

Jesse Galanis
Jesse Galanis
Chief Editor & Content Creator at

Jesse Galanis is the Chief Editor & Content Creator at He writes on a wide range of real estate topics, including property tax assessments, title disputes, and lease agreements.

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