If you are selling your home, you should know you need an Energy Performance Certificate, an EPC. While this document is a legal requirement, it is also an extremely useful document. In a competitive market place, you need to make a compelling argument for prospective buyers to fall in love with your home. Continue reading “Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Before Selling”
It is important that landlords keep up to date with all of the changes with respect to rules and regulations of their industry. There have been many changes in recent times but any landlord who felt that 2018 was going to be slightly easier will probably want to think again. As of the 1st of April 2018, there will be big changes relating to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for new lets.
The change is related to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations of 2015 and the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES, which are being introduced. The change comes into effect for new lets and renewals of tenancies from the 1st of April of 2018 and by the 1st of April 2020, this regulation will be applicable to all existing tenancies. The minimum rating for these tenancies will be an E rating and if a landlord doesn’t comply with the regulations, they may face a civil penalty of up to £4,000.
Know the full regulations regarding the MEES
There are some exemptions where a landlord will be able to let property that holds a lower EPC rating than this, and these exemptions include:
- Where a third party has to provide agreement for improvements to be undertaken and they don’t
- Where work carried out on the property would lower the value of the property by at least 5% (this will be evaluated by an independent professional)
- Where all possible improvements have been carried out and the property still falls below the EPC rating
- Where the landlord would be left out of pocket
It is essential that landlords are aware that there are grants and funding on offer to ensure they comply with the regulations. The exemptions can only exist for a maximum of five years and they are not able to be transferred over to another landlord.
It makes sense to improve the EPC rating of your property
There is a lot to be said for improving the energy efficiency rating of a property and this is true for landlords and tenants. A real benefit to the tenant comes with the fact that moving from a G rating to an E rating can lower the average annual heating bills by more than £1,000. This is something that will please a tenant and may help them stay in the property for a longer period. This will be of benefit to the landlord, minimising void periods and ensuring that they have less work to do.
A landlord can also take comfort in knowing that their property is in better condition, it’s value should have improved and they will likely be able to raise rental fees with some justification.
We know that things are difficult for landlords at the moment and if you need any assistance or guidance, please get in touch with Williams of Petersfield and we will do our best to help you out. This is just one of the many changes that landlords have had to deal with but we are on hand to ensure you know what you need to know.
Being a landlord can be very rewarding and given the level of demand for property in the United Kingdom, you can see why so many people are looking to get involved with the buy to let market. However, people should be aware that the buy to let market is challenging and being a landlord can be very difficult. It makes sense to call on experts for assistance and one area where you will benefit from help comes with staying up to date with landlord regulations.
There have been many changes to landlord regulations in recent times and you need to make sure that you continue to comply with these regulations. If you need assistance call on experienced estate agents and at Williams of Petersfield, we are more than happy to help you out. Here are some of the recent changes to landlord regulations that you need to consider.
Mortgage interest tax relief changes
As of April 2017, there has been a change to the way that landlords deal with their mortgage interest costs from their income when it comes to determining their final tax bill for the year. The first year in this process, which will take place over four years, sees landlords only being able to offset 75% of their mortgage interest until 2020, when landlords will not be able to offset any of their mortgage interest.
This will be replaced by landlords being able to claim the equivalent of a tax credit of 20%, the basic rate of tax, and this means that landlords who are on the higher rates of tax will be hit with this change. This is why it is essential that landlords plan ahead and make sure that these changes do not impact on their income too much.
The removal of wear and tear allowance
Up until 2016, landlords who let furnished property were allowed to deduct 10% of their annual rent before they paid tax and this figure was for “wear and tear” of the furnishing. It didn’t matter if the landlord spent this money or not, they could claim. This has changed and landlords are now only able to claim on items that they have spent money on, replacing or repairing.
Right to rent requirements
As of February 2016, landlords need to ensure that tenants have a legal right to be present in the United Kingdom. A landlord has to review documentation and ensure that a tenant holds a legal right to be present in the UK. If a landlord fails to do this, they can face a fine of up to £3,000 for every person found in their home who doesn’t have the legal right to live in the UK.
Local landlord licencing
Changes have been brought in across the United Kingdom providing local councils with the right to operate a selective licensing for landlords in their area. A local council now has greater ability to impose significant fines on landlords who don’t meet their standards.
A ban on letting fees
As of the autumn statement of 2017, the Government stated that they are looking to ban letting agent fees that can be imposed on tenants in England. At this point in time, the tenant will usually cover the costs of various bills, including references, credit checks and tenancy agreements but these must now be met by the landlord. There is an argument that savvy landlords will pass these costs on to the tenant in some way but it is an issue to be aware of.
EPC ratings as part of landlord regulations
As of April 2018, a landlord looking to arrange a new tenancy will have to ensure that their property carries a minimum energy efficiency rating of an E. This will apply to all tenancies as of April 2020. There are some exceptions to this rule, for a variety of reasons so you may be able to delay the issue but this is an issue that all landlords should be aware of.
Other changes to be aware of include:
- The Housing White Paper, introduced in February 2017
- Section 21 eviction process, introduced in 2015
- The need to hold a tenant’s deposit in the correct manner
- Changes to buy to let regulations
- The additional 3% stamp duty for additional home purchases, as of April 2016
It is not as if these changes will be the final changes that landlords have to contend with, there are many more changes scheduled to appear and there will also be changes that haven’t yet been cited. This is why all landlords should call on experts for assistance and if you need any help, please get in touch with Williams of Petersfield.