If you’re a landlord, it’s important to keep up-to-date on changes affecting the property sector. So here are the latest updates for you to be aware of:
Changes in the rented sector
The Conservative’s Summer Budget 2015 is set to affect three key areas in the private rented sector. The measures, announced under the Housing Bill in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May 2015, will see the Right to Buy scheme extended to Housing Association tenants. The scheme, currently open to around 800,000 tenants, will soon offer a further 500,000 people the right to buy their homes – a move designed to increase home ownership.
The discounts will start at 35% on a house and 50% on a flat. The 70% maximum, on the other hand, will be capped at £103,000 in London and £77,900 outside the capital city. For this government scheme to be viable, however, councils will need to sell off empty high-value properties, with proceeds helping fund the building of affordable housing.
Those in social housing – earning more than £40,000 in London and £30,000 elsewhere – are also being targeted by the Chancellor’s Summer Budget. Tenants will be required to pay market rent on their current homes or be forced to move out. The proposal follows the government’s 2012 efforts which gave social landlords the discretion to charge market rent to tenants on an income of £60,000.
Buy-to-let landlords will also be subject to changes. Whilst George Osborne will keep the mortgage interest relief on buy-to-let properties, he plans to reduce it to the basic rate of tax which currently stands at 20%. The change – which will be implemented over a four-year period, starting from April 2017 – will mean bad news for many, including middle-class landlords with sole buy-to-let properties and professional landlords with more lucrative portfolios.
Stan Tonchev, Branch Manager at Kingsley Hamilton Estates, comments: “The announced changes from the government will have an effect on the market for both landlords and vendors. Professional landlords with big portfolios will be affected most. It’s expected they will increase the rent to cover the lower income, which will affect tenants. I believe some of them will shift the less profitable properties, which will help supply to the sales market and potentially stop the shortage of quality properties on the market.”
The Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) issued a consultation that will have implications for both commercial and residential landlords. The Energy Act 2011 states that all properties needing an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will need to meet the following minimum energy efficiency standards:
1 April 2016: Tenants will have the right to request permission from their landlords to put energy efficiency improvements into place. Reasonable requests can’t be refused by the landlord.
1 April 2018: All privately rented properties where new leases are granted or renewed must have an EPC rating of E or above.
1 April 2020: All privately rented domestic buildings must have an EPC rating of E or above.
1 April 2023: All privately rented non-domestic buildings must have an EPC with a rating of E or above.
If domestic and commercial properties are not energy efficient from early 2018, the DECC’s consultation will prevent landlords from leasing these buildings.
Right to Rent Scheme to be implemented from September
After being trialled in the West Midlands, the rules of the Right to Rent scheme will need to be adhered to by landlords across the rest of England and Wales. The introduction of this new law will mean that if landlords are found to be renting homes to illegal immigrants – the result of not having checked their ‘right to rent’ – they’ll face up to £3,000 fines. The scheme is said to be rolled out nationwide from September but there hasn’t been any official word as of yet.
For more information on any of the changes featured here, talk to one of our expert agents on +44(0)20 7078 0214 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve built Kingsley Hamilton Estates on our three core values: customer care, personal service, and expert knowledge. So we’re well placed to take care of all your property needs.