In these unusual and challenging times, landlords, like everyone else, can be forgiven if their minds are elsewhere. However, despite all of the disruption that Covid-19 has caused, there are a number of rule changes that have come into force, or will be coming into force in the coming months, which could affect them.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
1st April was the deadline for landlords to ensure their existing tenanted properties meet MEES and have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of at least E. There are some exemptions, for example listed buildings and holiday lets that are rented out for less than four months a year.
Properties with an EPC rating of F or G – the lowest possible ratings – are now considered unrentable. Any landlord found not to be complying with the new rules could face a fine, with the amount dependant on the type of infringement and the length of non-compliance.
It means there’s a good reason to get in touch with your customers and encourage them to check their properties meet the minimum standards. It’s also worth highlighting that EPCs are only valid for 10 years and must then be renewed. You could maybe go through their portfolios’ EPCs to check the dates and then diarise so you can remind them nearer the time they’re due to expire.
Mortgage interest tax relief
April 2020 also saw the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief. It means landlords are no longer able to deduct any of their mortgage interest payment from their rental income before paying tax. Instead, they will receive a basic rate tax reduction of 20% from their income tax liability.
Although mortgage interest tax relief has been phased out incrementally over the last four years, there may be some landlords who haven’t experienced the full impact of the change yet and won’t notice it until their 2020/2021 tax return.
It may well be worth having a conversation with them now about the available options and ensuring they seek the proper legal and tax advice.
Electrical Safety Standards
From 1st July, new electrical safety standards legislation comes into force which mean that landlords in England must:
- Ensure electrical safety standards are satisfied when the property is occupied by a tenant.
- Ensure every electrical installation is inspected and tested at regular intervals by a qualified person.
- Ensure this has taken place for all new tenancies commencing from 1st July 2020.
Properties with existing tenancies will also need to follow this new legislation by 1st April 2021. It is imperative that all properties are tested and re-inspected at least every five years.
For more information about the new standards, visit http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020
You can also read our Electrical Safety factsheet here.
Ongoing effects of Covid-19
With many firms having to furlough staff, landlords whose portfolios are managed by letting agents may want to check their properties are being looked after appropriately, that all the tenancies are within date and, where necessary, arranging for updated ASTs or common law tenancies to be issued.
Many landlords may be thinking of increasing the size of their property portfolios post-Covid-19. If you have a customer who is looking to extend their portfolio and has additional fundraising needs, it’s worth knowing that a number of lenders, including Precise Mortgages, have already increased their LTV limits, enabling landlords to prepare. Don’t forget, a member of our Sales Team is always here to help if you’ve got any questions.
Click here to find your local Business Development Manager and arrange an online face-to-face meeting.