There have been a number of changes in the letting industry in the past 12 months, and this in itself adds pressure to the role of a landlord. With so many changes, there is a need to stay up to date with regulations and then ensure that these regulations are being adhered to. Ignorance of rule changes is no defence and many landlords find that they don’t have the time to keep up with the changes, let alone act upon them.
With this in mind, any landlord requiring assistance in dealing with changes in the letting industry will find that letting agents such as Letcom are more than happy to provide guidance and assistance.
A notable change in recent times has been the Section 21 Notice, and this allows a landlord to regain control of their property at the conclusion of a fixed term tenancy agreement, assuming the landlord has followed the proper procedure.
The “proper procedure” aspect is the most notable point and in many cases, this has provided tenants with a greater deal of protection against unscrupulous landlords. Before this change came in, landlords were able to remove vulnerable or difficult tenants without much hassle but there is now a need to provide proper notice. This will not impact on the majority of law-abiding landlords in any way, but it provides tenants with greater confidence, which should be seen as positive for the entire industry.
A greater focus on transparency
There has also been a movement towards making agents more transparent, which again, is a positive for the industry. Agents are required to provide full details over fees they have charged tenants or landlords and letting agents must inform people if they belong to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme and if they belong to a mandatory redress scheme. Since May of last year, agents have had to provide this information on websites and in store.
Right To Rent rules must be enforced
In October of 2015, landlords were required to make sure that all tenants had a legal right to remain in the UK and any failure to do so is punishable by a fine.
Stamp duty changes have gathered most publicity
The most talked about change in the lettings industry has been the additional stamp duty charge, of 3%, which came into effect in April of 2016. Any landlord or person buying an additional property is now subjected to an additional 3% stamp duty, a move the Government has taken in the hope of providing opportunities for first time buyers.
A further change in the industry comes into effect from 2017 and this will see a reduction in the level of tax relief that landlords can claim on finance costs and mortgage interest payments. These changes have been criticised by many industry experts and there have been some predictions that there is less incentive for people to invest in property.
With this in mind though, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures released in March 2016 indicate that private rental prices rose by 2.6% between February 2015 and February 2016. London was again the leader in the rise of rental prices, increasing by 3.8%, but all English regions experienced a rise over this period. There were small rises in Wales and Scotland over the same time period.