The start of April hailed "Axe the Tenant Tax Awareness Week" but sadly it’s probably not going to make much difference to the fact that from 6th April 2017, all landlords have to do their accounts in a very different way. For some, especially higher rate tax payers, this is likely to result in substantially higher tax bills than seen in previous years.
As a landlord, no matter whether you have one property or a large portfolio, it’s important to keep on top of all the paperwork associated with owning buy to lets. Here are ten key pieces of documentation you should have up to date and to hand:
With Dylan hitting us on new year’s eve and Eleanor reaching the UK mainland on 3rd January, we’ve had a stormy end to the festive season. Wind is one of the most damaging elements as far as properties are concerned, so it’s important that, as the bad weather passes, you check your buy to lets to make sure they are intact and watertight – especially as we still have notoriously windy March to come.
Tax is an increasingly important element of investing and letting property and there are four tax changes taking effect in 2018 that could affect landlords. While some will impact on your profits this tax year, some will have an effect into the future, so it’s important that you understand what the changes are and plan ahead to ensure your investment delivers the returns you expect and you don’t get any nasty surprises when your tax bills arrive.
As the weather worsens after the summer (or a bit before!), the risk of damage to property increases. Wind can blow trees and debris onto the building, lift roof tiles and rip off TV aerials, satellite dishes and other loose fittings.
I thought that a reduction in interest rates was bound to happen last month and then, having heard some economists suggest that reducing interest rates might not do much for the economy, I thought they’d be on hold this month. Clearly I’m not very good at financial forecasts, as here we are now in August with a fall of 0.25%!
Although proposals were announced by the Government back in April, letting agent regulation has still not been introduced in England. As it stands, while agents have to be registered with a redress scheme and protect all deposits they hold, there’s no requirement for them to undergo mandatory training or work to a specific code of practice. The three key things the Government has proposed introducing are:
Over recent months, the Government has put out a number of consultations on various aspects of the property market. Although it could be some time before any of the proposals become law, it’s good to know what’s currently being considered, in case you’d like to have your say on any of it.
We know, in theory, bad news makes a much better headline than good news, and that’s certainly true for reports on the property market. Some in the media do love to shout about prices crashing and warn that the market’s in trouble, and it’s been particularly under the spotlight since the Brexit vote.
Although letting to students used to be considered the bottom of the buy to let market, it’s a very different proposition today. That’s because three key shifts have taken place in the market over the last decade: increased health and safety legislation for all rented properties, the expectation of a better standard of living from this generation of students and the growth of institutional investment.
For many years, it didn’t make a huge amount of difference whether people had an investment plan in place before they bought a property. Until 2004 for some and for others up to the credit crunch, average prices had enjoyed a rapid journey upwards, giving virtually everyone who owned property an excellent return. The level of rental income was not overly important because the capital gain was so good.
Although your tenants aren’t obliged to keep you updated on their movements, it’s important for you to know if they’re going away for an extended period of time, as a vacant buy-to-let does have implications for you.
2016 may well go down as the year when political decisions have had the most influence on the ups and downs of the property market.
Since the Housing Act 2004 came into force in 2006, new rules and regulations have flooded into the lettings industry on a regular basis. In 2018 alone, we have seen four new pieces of lettings legislation introduced in England:
Client Money Protection (CMP) is an insurance policy taken out by letting agents to protect the monies they handle on behalf of their landlords and tenants. If your agent has CMP, it means that if they go out of business or someone runs off with your rent or the funds are held for maintenance, you don’t lose out financially.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) recently released its annual report, revealing figures and results for 2017. The number of lettings complaints was up by 8% on the previous year, and the value of financial awards to landlords and tenants was a huge 18% higher than in 2016, to an average award of £625. Significantly, since the introduction of a 24/7 online customer service facility, there was a 68% increase in enquiries across both sales and lettings. All in all, it’s clear that more and more people are reporting issues with their letting and estate agents and more of those agents are being held to account.
Never a day goes by when we don’t hear some news about property prices. So far this year I’ve seen headlines suggesting property prices have achieved ‘record highs’, others saying the ‘property bubble has burst’, while our previous chancellor claimed house prices could fall by 18% if we voted for Brexit.
As a homeowner, you may not have paid much attention to the energy efficiency rating of the property when you bought it; if you’ve lived in your current home for more than ten years and aren’t planning to move any time soon, you may not even have an EPC.
At the start of 2017, the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) began giving presentations to landlords around the UK, in an effort to raise awareness of the value of having their properties regularly inspected by a professional electrician. NAPIT’s business relationship director, Ian Halton, says: “It’s become a mission of ours to make as many landlords as we can aware of the potential danger they could be putting their tenants in if they don’t keep on top of the electrical safety of their property.” To date, more than 3,500 landlords have received NAPIT’s advice.