Stamp Duty Land Tax: temporary reduced rates Reduced rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will apply for residential properties purchased from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 inclusive.
If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020 and apply to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020.
These new regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected at least every 5 years and tested by a person who is qualified and competent. Landlords will also have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants as well as to the local authority if requested.
Private landlords must ensure every electrical installation in their residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than 5 years by a qualified and competent person.
The regulations apply in England to all new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021. ‘New specified tenancies’ is any tenancy created on or after 1 June 2020.
Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:
- obtain a report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test
- supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and test
- supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority
- retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test
- supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant
From 1 June 2019, the Tenant Fees Act comes into force, prohibiting landlords and agents from charging any fees to tenants, other than those ‘permitted’ by the Act. Any tenancy that is signed on or after 1 June must adhere to the new regulations.
The Tenant Fees Act applies to assured shorthold tenancies, student accommodation tenancies and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector.
The act only applies to landlords, agents and tenants in England.
Letting fees are already banned in Scotland and, while they are currently still legal in Wales and Northern Ireland, a ban was put before the Welsh government in June 2018 and is intended to commence this September.
There are a number of fees that are ‘permitted’. These include:
- A refundable holding deposit (up to one week’s rent per property)
- Tenancy deposit (exclusions apply, see below for more information)
- Changes to the tenancy (for example, introduction of a pet, permission to run a business from the property or other amends that change the contractual responsibilities. This is capped at £50 per change unless the landlord is able to prove that the resulting cost was higher AND is reasonable)
- Utilities (electric, gas, water)
- Council tax, TV licence fees, communication fees (e.g. telephone, broadband etc.)
- Fee for early termination of tenancy/surrender fee – the landlord must be able to show reasonable loss has been suffered, for example as a result of referencing, re-advertising and can charge rent until the next tenant moves in
- Default fees which should be written into the tenancy agreement for:
- late payment of rent – this can only be after 14 days have passed and interest at a maximum of 3 per cent above base rate
- replacing locks/security fobs. The Guidance states, for example, that a new standard door key could be valued between £3-£10, a specialist door key between £5-£20 or a replacement key fob up to £50; there may be circumstances where it is necessary to pay more and ALL claims must be supported by evidence from the landlord of costs and be reasonable
What fees are prohibited under the act?
Any fees not listed on the government’s ‘permitted’ fees list are prohibited. Landlords and agents are NOT able to charge fees for:
- Property viewing
- Administration charges
- Guarantors (this can be a condition of the tenancy but you cannot charge fees for meeting this condition)
- Inventory checks (both check in and check out)
- Right to Rent checks (the landlord or agent are liable for this cost, unless the tenant fails the check)
- Pet fees/deposits
- Renewal/exit fees
- Interest on permitted payments
- Professional end of tenancy cleaning – as a special clause (breach of contract ONLY)
- Third party fees (unless the tenant chooses to undertake the services themselves)
- Gardening services (unless included within the rent)
The Tenant fees bill, banning agents from charging fees to tenants has now been given Royal Assent and will apply to all tenancies signed after June 1.
The bill – prevent landlords and agents from charging: ‘Anything not exempted, that the tenant is required to pay as a condition of the ‘of the grant, renewal, continuance, variation, assignment, novation or termination of’ an assured shorthold tenancy, or licence agreement.
The new rules came into force from 6 of April 2018,that mean that the annual gas safety check will now be allowed to renew up to 2 months ahead if time.
Celebrate international day of HAPPYNESS with our new offer for new landlords- only 5% LETTING FEES during March_April 2018. Call our office to arrange free valuation!
New requirement will be for any properties rented out in the private rented sector from the 1st April 2018 . Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has to be a minimum rating of E. The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement, unless there is an applicable exemption.
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Stamp Duty Relief
New buyers were granted a stamp duty exemption in the latest Budget announcement, allowing you to write off Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of your first home! This means if you are a first-time-buyer, you will save up to £5,000.
Meanwhile those buying homes worth up to £500,000 will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000.If the property you are buying is worth over £500,000, you will pay the standard rates of Stamp Duty.