Rules, Regs and Redtape:
The changes announced in the Budget to tax relief for landlords (more info to follow in further blogs) comes on top of a blizzard of new requirements, regulations and legal measures introduced over the past few years.
- April 2012: mandatory for rented properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate upgraded between tenancies
- November 2013: Advertising Standards Authority rules for agents to include information about non-optional fees in adverts
- February 2014: landlords and agents required to carry out Legionnaires’ disease risk assessment after updated guidance from Health and Safety Executive
- October 2014: mandatory for letting agents to be a member of one of three government-approved redress schemes
- May 2015: mandatory for all letting agents to disclose and display full fee tariffs, as well as their chosen redress scheme and whether they offer client money protection
- June 2015: under the Deregulation Act it is mandatory for the small number of deposits taken before April 6 2007 which then became periodic to be protected
- From October 2015: it will be mandatory for all rented properties to have working and periodically-checked carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
- From October 2015: changes under the Deregulation Act will affect landlords’ ability to serve a Section 21 notice if they or their agent do not handle repair requests properly
- From 2016: agents and landlords will be required to carry out energy improvements to rental properties if requested by tenants and deemed reasonable, ahead of a 2018 deadline from which it will be illegal for properties to be let unless they have an Energy Performance rating of ‘E’ of above
- From 2017?: it is likely that Right to Rent immigration checks – recently piloted in the West Midlands region – will be rolled out nationally
These specific requirements come on top of other measures such as HMRC requesting agents to provide a list of landlords they have collected rent on behalf of, and Councils selective-licensing schemes.
At Osprey, we recognise the need for these sensible measures and importantly they protect the safety of tenants. However, the combined effect of all these changes makes the task of “property lettings and management” much more complex for agents and landlords alike; the number of tasks performed for each letting and property managed are considerable.
- We urge Landlords who do not use a Lettings Agent to carefully consider the rules and regulations that they need legally to adhere to.
- We urge Landlords who use a “let only” service to carefully consider the risk/reward trade off of undertaking their own property management.
- Importantly, we also believe (although we are biased) that it is important to use a team who specialise in property management and do not do sales, estate agency etc. The letting and management of property is a niche service, which requires specific skills which we believe are best provided by companies like Osprey that purely specialise in this sector.