A Few Changes for Landlords to Watch Out For in 2019

A Few Changes for Landlords to Watch Out For in 2019

With some new legislation coming into force and other regulation being considered, here are a few changes landlords need to look out for this year:

1. The Homes Act

‘The Homes Act’ which was previously named The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, came into force on the 20th March 2019, in England. The Act gives tenants the freedom to go straight to court if they believe a property isn’t being maintained to the expected standard, cutting out them having to complain to the Local Authority.

Under the Deregulation Act 2015, a landlord has to respond to a tenants complaint regarding the condition of the property within 14 days and conduct any necessary repairs in a reasonable timeframe.

If you are a landlord and haven’t had your property checked by a professional for a while, it may be worth having your property checked out and ensure you are remaining on the right side of the law.

2. Digital Tax (Making Tax Digital)

A new, digital way of keeping your records is being introduced. From the 1st April, if your Buy to Let business turnover is above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000 per annum) you’ll have to keep records digitally and send them to HMRC via MTD-compliant software.

This could actually turn out to be of benefit to some people for a few reasons:

  • Instead of finding out your tax liability at the end of the year, you can obtain estimates throughout the year of what you owe.
  • Real-time digital tax records can help you accurately capture more deductible expenditure and receipts
  • Records can easily be shared with your tax and finance advisers
  • The information can help you to budget and manage your cash flow by providing more clarity on your profits

3. Public Availability of the Database of Rogues Landlords

The ‘rogues database’ that was introduced in April last year has been reported as ‘insufficient’ as records were not made available to the very people it was supposed to protect – the tenants. In response to this, it has now been announced that the Government will make it public. There may also be further steps taken towards ensuring all landlords sign up to a redress scheme, something that was first pledged at the Conservative party conference in 2017.

4. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Going Up

In 2018, properties with an EPC rating below ‘E’ were not permitted to be rented legally on a new tenancy and this will apply to existing tenancies from April 2020. You may want to consider upgrading your property sooner rather than later if your rented property is currently rated ‘F’ or ‘G’ and you aren’t able to secure an exemption, especially keeping in mind the minimum rating is likely to rise to ‘D’ in 2022.

5. Client Money Protection (CMP) to Become Mandatory

Applications from potential Client Money Protection providers have been assessed by the government and came into law on the 1st April 2019. This means all letting agents need to be insured for the loss of any tenant/landlords money, including rent and maintenance.

Some agents may go out of business as they need to able to prove they have a financially stable business, therefore it is likely not all of them will be able to obtain Client Money Protection.