With confidence much stronger than this time last year, it still remains difficult to predict how the next few weeks and months will pan out while we remain in unchartered territory with Covid 19.
Alongside the ongoing pandemic, this year’s challenges will come in the shape of inflation and cost of living pressures which look set to squeeze the incomes of many UK households.
There are, however, a number of green shoots on the horizon that should help protect the lowest earners. The National Living Wage will rise in April by 6.6%, unemployment rates have remained close to pre-Covid levels at 4.2%, and wages in some sectors are seeing sharp increases.
Agents and landlords can expect to see the continuation of a highly competitive lettings market. Demand is likely to outstrip supply and rental income should remain strong, with rents forecast to rise.
With around 170 different pieces of legislation that must be adhered to within the private rented sector, it’s essential to keep up with any changes so you can stay on top of your obligations.
Here’s what to look out for over the coming months, so you can plan accordingly.
Changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are expected to be announced soon The government is consulting on requiring a minimum EPC C rating for new tenancies, with existing lets to follow at a later date. Latest reports indicate that the government may give landlords an extra year to make rental homes more energy efficient. In this scenario, new lets would face a deadline of 2026 to meet a minimum of band C while the deadline for existing lets would stay at 2028.
Energy price cap increase to be announced in February Energy bills will rise accordingly when the increase comes into effect on April 1st.
Publication of the Rental Reform White Paper (England) The long awaited proposals were expected to come out last autumn but extra time has been given to allow the government an opportunity to take a more comprehensive review of the whole sector. The proposals are now due to be announced in early spring, and are likely to herald significant changes to the private rented sector. The forthcoming White Paper is expected to contain a strategic package of reforms that will aim to raise industry standards and balance fairness across the PRS.
Some of the proposals in this Bill include:
Abolition of Section 21 evictions S21 currently gives landlords the option to evict a tenant who is in violation of their tenancy. Scrapping S21 evictions was a manifesto pledge from the Conservatives in 2019. However,a substantial period of consultation is likely to follow any proposals set out in the White Paper, ahead of a future Renters’ Reform Bill.
Reforms to Section 8 notices Section 8 lays out the grounds for possession, and modifications could see improved enforcement. Lifetime tenant deposits A lifetime deposit would enable a tenant to transfer their deposit from one landlord to another as and when they move, thus avoiding the need to find extra funds at the point of agreeing a new let. Proposals to consider issues around landlord redress and establishing a landlord register The government wants to improve landlord accountability. Potential changes may have a significant impact on a landlord’s working practices.
Right to Rent checks Covid adjusted temporary measures, to allow Right to Rent checks over video call and to share digital copies of documents rather than the originals, are expected to finish on April 5th. The government intends to implement a digital system for all reviews, creating a permanent resolution. As yet, no further information is available as to how this will work or what this will include.
Making Tax Digital for VAT (UK) From April 1st all VAT registered businesses must sign up, whatever they earn. This scheme requires relevant professionals to maintain digital VAT records and use compatible software packages to submit their VAT return.
Rent4sure’s here to support you with all your referencing services, throughout 2022. We can provide you with the latest information to help you stay compliant, keeping you up to date with changes to complex legislation.
Did you know that our Right to Rent checks are fully integrated into your current referencing process and linked to references on the system? This means you can manage your checks with confidence, knowing our system will guide you through the whole process.
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