Whether you own a leasehold or freehold property, if you’re an HMO landlord who rents out rooms, individual flats or even entire houses, you need to be aware of some important timing and legal changes that might affect you this year and beyond.
From Right To Rent checks of people applying to lease your property through to updated tax filing deadlines, the UK government has revised various rules and guidelines for landlords. To avoid any unpleasant financial shocks or other surprises, you should learn about each one to stay on top of them.
The team at LDN Properties are tracking some of the latest developments in the laws and regulations affecting the property market, including updates that have a direct impact on all landlords. They’ve provided thisrundown of nine key issues facing landlords in 2022.
1. Temporary Right to Rent checks have ended
In April, temporary regulations on “Right to Rent” checks expired. The rules were revised in March 2020 in order to limit in-person meetings for rent checks of a person’s legal status for renting a property. An online system was created that helped to reduce physical contact between landlords and aspiring tenants, and the government’s plan is to shift everyone to the online-only system once the temporary rules expire.
2. Extending the rules in England for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
There are additional requirements coming for landlords of private properties and social rented homes to ensure there’s a carbon monoxide detector working in each room of the property with a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers). Smoke alarms will also become mandatory in all social rented homes.
3. Expected revisions to rental energy efficiency rules
Although the government has not yet made a formal announcement on this issue, it’s expected sometime this year that it will lay out some planned changes to energy efficiency rating requirements for landlord-owned properties. The current minimum rating for tenancies is E but this is expected to be raised to C for new tenancies starting in April 2026, and then any existing tenancies are expected to have to also meet the C rating by April 2028.
4. Debate likely over reform legislation for renters
Sometime in the spring, the government is due to float a white paper that will outline a bill that would abolish a section of the 1998 Housing Act that lets tenants be evicted without reason either when a fixed-term lease agreement ends, or in a rolling periodic tenancy agreement. The change under consideration could ultimately lead to creation of a specialist court for handling such situations, possibly reducing a landlord’s costs and burdens when evicting a tenant.
5. Rule changes that might help pet-owning tenants
There is legislation pending in Parliament that could advance in 2022 which is designed to make it easier for would-be tenants with pets to qualify for renting properties. If enacted, it would require that a landlord offer a reasonable explanation for rejecting a prospective tenant on the basis that they have pets. That means the default expectation is that tenants with pets should be accepted but for any extenuating circumstances, which might be a setback for landlords.
6. Revisions for landlords to report Capital Gains Tax
Any house or flat that you might own as a landlord and then decide to sell is subject to potential Capital Gains Tax. A recent change means that you may now have 60 days for filing your tax bill, which is longer than the previous deadline of 30 days. Many landlords and other property owners have long urged the government to adopt this extension. Technically these changes took effect in October last year, but many landlords are unaware of this change in 2022.
7. Keep an eye on whether interest rates will rise
Inflation is ticking up both in the UK and overseas, and that has a direct impact on every aspect of the property market including house prices and more. Landlords are strongly advised to closely track the latest developments in interest rates and look out for whether the Bank of England decides to increase rates further in the coming months. Higher interest rates can make your monthly mortgage repayments more expensive, which may complicate your finances.
8. Buying a new property might have to be “green”
Some banks have experimented with making environmental protection a core value in the mortgages they offer for landlords, for example by mandating that properties achieve a C energy efficiency rating even though the current government mandate is an E rating. If you are a landlord who plans on buying a new property to use for renting out in 2022 and need to obtain a mortgage for the purchase, be aware that you might have to meet this energy requirement.
9. Potential update to policies on short-term lets
Later this year, the government might pursue a consultation on whether to update its policies on short-term lets, which are typically properties that have tenants for six months or less, and often just a few days or weeks. Some of the options that are said to be under discussion for rule changes include increasing the rates of council tax for short-term rentals, and also assessing whether there is a need to create a mandatory registry for English holiday property rentals.
* LDN Properties is a national property buying firm *
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