It’s been a strange couple of days for journalists, letting agents, and landlords alike, with plenty of rumours and bad information abound.
It has been confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government that Brandon Lewis is to continue as minister for housing and planning in the new Conservative government. The announcement clears up the great deal of confusion that preceded it, sparked by the DCLG website initially showing Mark Francois as the newly-appointed holder of that position.
Francois was moved to the DCLG from the Ministry of Defence as part of the re-shuffle. At the same time, Brandon Lewis’s profile on the website mysteriously vanished. A statement was released from Number 10 confirming Mark Francois as housing minister. Many in the press reported the change, and the Residential Landlords Association sent the supposed new minister a message of congratulations.
It seemed an odd choice to many, with the new minister’s background in banking and lobbying not suggesting that he had any connection to the housing industry. The Twitter rumour-mill kicked off, as some began to doubt his appointment.
Then Brandon Lewis tweeted that he was still housing minister, which was confirmed later in the day by the DCLG, claiming that the announcement of their website had been made in error.
The news has been welcomed by many in the industry, as Lewis made himself quite popular in the private rented sector by resisting calls for blanket landlord licensing.