Government legal update for landlords

Government legal update for landlords

In this Landlords' update, we share with you some of the latest landlord-tenant news, which seems very apt for today. There is a lot of change happening at the moment. So we bring you an update on a range of topics covering electrical safety regulations, evictions,  lettings, and everything in between, we hope you'll find it useful.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS</span>

For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests in accordance with the new regulations, which will apply to all properties across the PRS. A breach of the regulations could see landlords fined up to £30,000. The electrical safety regulations apply to Residential tenancies where tenants have the right to occupy either all or part of a premises as their only or main residence, they pay a rent, and it is not listed as an excluded tenancy. The regulations currently only apply to rental properties in England only. And the regulations replace those already in place for HMOs.

Click here to read <span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS</span>.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">New Guidance for landlords and tenants</span>

The Government announced new non-statutory for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

This guidance is advisory and informs you about recent changes to the law. All guidance is subject to frequent updates and should be checked regularly for currency.


Click here to read <span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">New Guidance for landlords and tenants</span>.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">What Is The Green Energy Grant And How To Claim It</span>

From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient and create local jobs.

"The grants will cover at least two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000 per household.
"And for low income households - up to £10,000."
Measures such as loft, wall and floor insulation, double glazing, lighting, energy-efficient doors, boilers and heat pumps will all be included under the scheme.

Click here to read <span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">What Is The Green Energy Grant And How To Claim It</span>.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;">Managing the rental bounce and your mandatory electrical checks</span>

Since June this year, it has been made a legal requirement that an EICR report must be carried out before any new tenancies begin, with electrical installation inspections conducted at least every five years from that point.

With the surge in demand for rental properties set to increase even more than what we’ve experienced this summer, property certificate providers say landlords need to be prepared to deal with the influx in demand.

Following the reopening of the property market back in May, there has been a surge in demand from tenants. This growth in activity looks like it is going to continue to develop, as there have been sustained positive reports throughout June, July and August.

A recent survey from RICS found that tenant demand has recovered to +35% in July, bouncing back from -44% the previous quarter. Meanwhile other research found that the number of tenants registering with letting agencies reached a record high in June!

Almost three in ten letting agents saw landlords increasing the cost of rent in June as a result from the high demands.

With landlords processing a higher number of tenancies, this also means more administration work needing to be carried out with new and challenging compliance measures to meet.

The most recent change affecting new tenancies is the introduction of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 on July 1st.

There are a range of other things for landlords to follow, including providing copies of EICR reports to their new tenants.

We would recommend having access to a large pool of electricians, as this is going to be crucial to meet the high demand. An efficient online management system would also help landlords keep organised and up-to-date with each tenant.

Mandatory electrical checks have been introduced for a reason and it is to ultimately to protect your tenants and your investments. Managing this process through trusted suppliers and using highly qualified electricians is in the interest of all stakeholders.

If you’d like to talk to us about your compliance, contact us today.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;">Five essential property management steps for landlords</span>

The UK rental market has shown incredible resilience over the course of lockdown, with the government’s announcement of its stamp duty holiday causing a surge in activity from buy-to-let investors.

Whether it’s your first time letting a property or you’re already an established landlord, we’ve outlined the five essentials steps you need to take to fulfil your obligations and provide quality housing for your tenants.

Inform your lender

If you haven't already been granted permission from your mortgage provider to let your property, you'll need to inform them as they may impose conditions or actions for you to complete.

It's also a good idea to update any existing insurance policies, as specific landlord cover will give you more security should anything go wrong during the tenancy, whilst protecting you when the property's left empty for longer periods of time.
Get your home tenant-ready

From simple tasks like cleaning your property to meeting industry requirements, it's crucial to get your property tenant-ready.

If you have selected a fully-managed package, your lettings agency should take care of items like your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), gas and electrical safety certification, and inventory for you.

With legislation constantly changing, a fully-managed service ensures your compliance, with these items routinely reviewed and made accessible to your tenants.

This year has seen the introduction of substantial changes within lettings, including for minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES), mandatory electrical safety checks, and the extension of the Tenant Fees Act.

Attract suitable tenants

Void periods can be costly for landlords, with an investment of time and resources needed to find tenants that meet your short or long-term property plans and requirements.

A quick, successful let requires having a winning property marketing strategy that showcases your home's key characteristics and features – which is something we’ve honed over the years for our landlords.

Once you’ve started receiving interest from applicants, it’s important to conduct viewings and credit checks, where you’ll be able to ascertain if they're financially viable.

Safeguard your property

You stand to lose £3,000 by not having the right landlord insurance in place.

Accidental damage is one of the most expensive claims to compensate for, yet 57% of landlords don't even request it as part of their insurance package.

Here are our recommendations for the policy types that you should consider:

Landlords' insurance – first and foremost, you'll want to have a policy that cover items like buildings insurance and accidental damage.

Contents cover – this will depend on if your rental is furnished or unfurnished, with the possibility that your tenants will need prompting to organise a policy for their own possessions.

Landlords' liability – often an added extra for student or social housing, this gives you more security in the event of injury.

Rent Guarantee Insurance (RGI) – for loss of rental income during periods your property is empty or instances of rent arrears.

Home emergency cover – in emergency repair cases, this will help with costs and ensure there's a qualified tradesperson available 24/7.

Property management on a day-to-day basis

Due to COVID-19, one in nine have fallen behind on their household bills, including 1.2 million tenants on rent payments.*

The government's decision to extend the ban on evictions for another four weeks – as well as their introduction of six-month notice periods – will have significant consequences for the country's two million private landlords in the coming months.

Should your tenants face financial difficulty, we can act as the intermediary to identify a resolution and repayment scheme – where appropriate.

Contact us for more information.

<span style="font-family: 'Century Gothic', AppleGothic, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;">Landlord DIY projects that could add or deduct value</span>

Whilst lockdown meant restrictions on the nation’s travel and leisure activities, a recent report from ONS indicates that the extra time spent indoors wasn’t wasted.

Four in ten Brits started cooking (45%), gardening (42%) and reading (44%).

As well as nurturing new hobbies, ONS claim that a third of the population turned their sights to home renovations, with 32% completing DIY tasks around the house.

With the rental market showing increasing activity and opportunities for buy-to-let investors, here are the most valuable DIY projects that you can undertake as a landlord to increase the value of your property.

According to CIA Landlord, home offices are now the highest valued feature for tenants and buyers – unsurprising, given the new workforce dynamics, which sees a more even balance between remote and office working in the UK.

The installation of a home office should come to around £1,715 in order to see significant improvements to your property’s overall market value.

To really appeal to prospective tenants or buyers, we’d recommend that you use space effectively, consider colour schemes that stimulate the imagination, reduce distractions, maximise natural light and ensure that the room has sufficient sockets and a reliable WIFI connection.

Next on the list for your DIY makeover is replacing carpets in your property. After ten years, it’s advised by most manufacturers to do this, as it will be showing signs of wear and fading in colour.

Although this comes with an approximate cost of £700, as many as 43% of women are willing to pay more in return.

Likewise, new curtains and light fittings are relatively inexpensive at £23.50 and £7 respectively, yet one in four of those looking to rent would pay significantly more for a home that’s recently had these installations.
As the central area of the home, you might expect DIY projects in the kitchen to be the highest valued by tenants and buyers.

Less than 10% would deem painted floorboards and cabinets as an important feature. So, unless you’re looking at a complete remodel, tackling smaller items within the kitchen may have a smaller impact than you’d anticipated.

Conversely, having a home bar seems like a feature that would differentiate your rental, but with prices starting from £1,610 for a self-installation, only 14% feel it adds value to a prospective home.

If you’ve recently completed renovations or DIY projects on your property, obtain an updated valuation to find out how much value it could have increased by.