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Changes Landlords Should Expect in Spring 2020

For any landlord, letting agent or tenant, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest landlord regulations and responsibilities, making it challenging for some landlords. Every year brings new changes to legislation to the property market which landlords should remain aware of.

As we approach the springtime, there’s no surprise that there are various new regulations to be introduced. Last year’s lettings legislation changes saw the introduction of the Tenant Fee Ban, the Right to Rent scheme, Consumer Rights Act, Mandatory Client Money Protection, Deregulation Act and the Deposit Protection Scheme. 

The real question is, what can we expect from landlord legislation changes this spring? From the change to minimum energy efficiency standards to the extension of tenancy fees, in this article, we explain all upcoming legislation changes that landlords should expect.

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March 2020

Fitness for Human Habitation Act

The Fitness For Human Habitation Act was implemented last year on the 20th March. One year later, it has since had some revisions which we expect to see from Friday 20th March 2020. 

With the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, landlords are required to carry out improvements to ensure the rental property is fit for purpose, meaning that the property is safe and secure. If the property fails to meet these basic requirements, the tenant can take legal action.

Originally, the act only applied to new tenancies and renewals, however, it will now apply to all periodic tenancies in England that commenced prior to the 20th March 2019.

April 2020

The Latest EPC Requirements

As a private landlord, you’ll be responsible for ensuring that your property has an Energy Performance Certificate prior to the commencement of a tenancy; without these, a landlord cannot enact the Section 21 eviction notice. The Energy Performance Certificate must be shown to tenants at property viewings, otherwise, tenants should ask their letting agency or landlord to supply it.

Previously, properties were given an energy rating between “A” and “G”, with “A” rated properties being the most efficient. The better the rating, the more cost-effective the home will be to run.

From 1st April 2020, EPC requirements state that properties will be required to have a minimum “E” rating. This means that if a property is given an “F” or “G” band, the landlord will be legally required to invest in the property to improve the energy efficiency rating. If a landlord fails to comply with this legislation, they are at risk of receiving fines of up to £5,000. 

Landlords with rental properties with F or G ratings will not be able to legally let them out to tenants. It’s worth knowing that there are some exemptions – to find out more, read our recent blog on the latest EPC requirement changes.

Capital Gains Tax

The way Capital Gains Tax (CGT) works is soon set to change. CGT is paid from any profits accumulated through a property sale that isn’t your primary home. Previously, if you lived in the property which is now rented out to tenants, you were eligible for lettings relief. From the 6th of April 2020, this will be scrapped. 

Only landlords that share a rental property with their existing tenant are eligible to claim lettings relief. The change is likely to have a significant effect on the tax paid to HMRC following property disposal.

Client Money Protection Scheme

Since April 2019, all lettings agents in England have been required to become members of an approved Money Protection Scheme.

For letting agents that experienced technical issues during this time, a 12 month grace period is given, however, it would need to be proven that these technical issues were genuine and that appropriate effort had been taken to protect tenants.

From 1st April 2020, all letting agents in England are required to have an approved client money protection scheme in place by having a membership for the scheme.

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June 2020

Extension of Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act only came into place in June 2019, which meant that landlords and letting agents could only charge fees for rent, deposits, holding deposits and damages in the property caused by tenants. However, from June 2020, this act will be extended to cover all existing tenancies. 

There will also be restrictions on how much tenants will be made to pay, with extra charges terminated for cleaning, referencing, inventories and even having pets. 

Deposits are currently capped to a maximum of five weeks’ rent when the annual rent is below £50,000. For rental properties that have an annual rent of over £50,000, the maximum deposit stands at six weeks’ rent. Holding deposits remain capped at one week’s rent.

Tenants who have been charged for these payments since the act came into place in June 2019 are entitled to get their money back, with the landlord receiving a fine of up to £5,000. If the landlord subsequently breaches the act, they could be fined £30,000.

Managing your rentals 

If your knowledge isn’t up to scratch, or you are looking to expand your existing portfolio, JOHNS&CO London Estate Agents are here to support. With years of experience and in-depth local market knowledge, our lettings and sales team are experts in matching people with their perfect property. JOHNS&CO landlords and tenants are well looked after and receive an unprecedented level of service.

As a landlord with JOHNS&CO, you will receive a tailored range of services from our experienced lettings team. You will benefit from a dedicated property manager on-site at each development we represent, a tailored marketing campaign to advertise your property to rent and our vast links with corporate companies. You can also be sure of efficient handovers, professional advice for rental legalities and even furniture installation too.

We know how important it is to keep void periods minimum, and we do everything we can to minimise them. This commitment has seen us let property in new build developments up to six months ahead of completion.

To discuss your requirements in more detail, please contact us. Please find information about our fees here.