Landlords Beware: Changes galore!

21 September 2017

Here at Curtis Law Solicitors we have expertise in advising Landlords across Lancashire and Greater Manchester, and our expert team are on hand to assist whatever your tenants throw at you. Given the recent changes affecting Landlords, you now also have to be agile and be ready to deal with whatever the government throws at you too!

As Landlords across the region are all too aware of, the current environment seems very hostile and there have been a number of changes targeting landlords. Recent figures show that almost half of landlords (44%) plan to make changes to their portfolio as a direct response to the changes.

The major changes are impacting the tax payable by landlords:

• 3% stamp duty surcharge on second home buyers;

• 10% ‘wear and tear’ tax break gone;

• Mortgage interest tax relief, reducing to zero by 2020.

Given these headwinds, many landlords are reviewing their portfolios and apparently 10% are planning to sell up entirely. The profit is simply not there to justify the ongoing investment of time and money.

There are solutions – one of which is to incorporate in to a Limited Company, but this is by no means an easy answer. Another option is to increase the rent payable by your tenants (a recent survey reports 25% of landlords plan to do so), or to cut your costs and perhaps reduce your reliance on a managed service or letting agent. None of these are particularly attractive options!

Other changes which have impacted Landlords in recent times also include (not exhaustively):-

• Amendments to the formal Notices served on tenants;

• Protection of the tenant’s deposit in approved government schemes;

• Increased requirements to serve prescribed documentation at the outset of a tenancy;

• Gas Safety and Energy performance Certificates;

• Letting Agent fees ban.

It is really crucial that Landlords are aware of the changes. If you are a new landlord, starting up with one property, you perhaps still have a full time job. Have you got the time to read up on all of these changes? At the other end of the scale, a company running multiple properties and dealing with dozens of tenants needs to ensure that they get it right every time. One simple error can become a very expensive mistake!

Our Solicitor led team have experience in dealing with the full range of issues: problem tenants, evictions, damaged property and recovery of rent arrears, to name but a few. We have relationships with a number of local Letting Agents and Estate Agents and also provide advice to the North West Landlords Association.

Iain Blundell, Solicitor, leading on our Landlord and Tenant services, adds a further warning to landlords concerning Fire Safety regulation change:

“As well as all the changes affecting the buy-to-let landlord from a financial perspective, there are a number of changes either coming in or anticipated in the world of Fire Safety. The awful events at Grenfell are causing the powers that be to look again at the regulations and there will no doubt be a lot of changes over the next 18 months or so. Landlords must be aware of these and must ensure they keep abreast of developments and maintain compliance. Watch this space!”

Are you a landlord? Or Letting Agent? Do you need advice about how to deal with tenants, tenancy agreements, or property matters? Iain Blundell, or our expert team, can assist across a wide range of Landlord and Tenant enquiries – please contact us direct on 01254 297130.

At Curtis Law we are happy to offer Fixed Fee prices in connection with a wide range of Landlord and Tenant matters – and also have a free initial consultation. For full details, please just ask!