15 key dates for landlords in 2019
Earning an income from buy to let involves more than simply sitting back and watching the rent roll in. Changes in private rented sector regulation, tenancy disputes, maintenance issues, tax calculations and more combine to make being a landlord more challenging than it can sometimes look from the outside.
Every year brings additional changes to legislation, taxation and the wider property market that landlords must stay on top of – but how can you make sure you’re up to date with everything you need to know?
To help you out, here are 15 key dates for the 2019 calendar that every landlord should be aware of.
1. Consultation ends January 22nd: New housing court
This could be the year when it becomes easier for both landlords and tenants to pursue cases against each other, with a government consultation on a new housing court set to end on January 22nd. The creation of a brand new, specialist court would create a single vehicle through which to resolve disputes and enforce rights – as opposed to the current system, which allows landlords and tenants to pursue cases via multiple court types. Removing the complexity of the legacy system aims to help make the process more efficient.
2. February 28th: ‘The Diversification of Build to Rent’ conference
This year’s Build to Rent Forum London will be less London-centric than before, offering the capital’s property owners the opportunity to learn much from the rest of the UK. The one-day event will cover topics including how the latest models are working, whether there is a case for rent regulation, and the barriers to the build to rent market. If you’re interested in the build to rent marketplace, it’s definitely one for the diary.
3. March 20th: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force
Replacing the existing fitness for human habitation clauses in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, this new legislation will apply to all human habitation tenancies lasting up to seven years. Essentially, it exists to protect tenants and ensure their property is fit for purpose – and allows them to take legal action should this not be the case. Read a summary here.
4. March 21st: National Landlord Investment Show
The London Olympia show is one of many dates for this touring residential property investment exhibition (find the full tour route online here). The largest show of its kind in the UK, the National Landlord Investment Show offers the chance to meet top suppliers, get expert advice, network, and stay up-to-date with industry developments.
5. March 29th: Brexit
While the ins and outs of Brexit have yet to be finalised, it is a landmark date in the calendar for the UK. Brexit could bring about changes in regulations for overseas buy to let (BTL) property investors, it could also mean greater challenges for foreign tenants looking to rent a property. Time will tell…
6. April (and onwards): Further changes to mortgage interest tax relief
The phasing in of new buy to let mortgage tax relief laws continues over the next few years, with landlords having been required to change the way they declare rental income since April 2017. This has led to increased tax bills – and the rise is set to continue. In the 2019-2020 tax year, landlords will only be able to claim 25 per cent mortgage tax relief, down from 50 per cent the year before.
7. April 2nd: Landlord Expo 2019
Billed as “the South West’s biggest landlord expo”, Landlord Expo 2019 takes place in Bristol on April 2nd. Expect 500 delegates, 15 seminars and 90 exhibitors covering a diverse range of topics, including tax planning, tenancy deposit schemes, legal advice and locksmiths. A useful event for landlords with properties in the South West.
8. April 12th and 13th: The Property Investor Show
The Spring edition of this popular show comprises a property exhibition and seminar programme, and is free to attend. Expect 75 debates, presentations and seminars and over 125 exhibitors, designed for investors of all experience levels. Show highlights include Landlord Live – billed as “the ultimate landlord forum” – along with latest innovations, HMO-specific content, and the chance to meet leading property developers.
9. April: CMP to become mandatory in England
New government regulations state that all letting agents who manage property lettings in England will be required to belong to an approved client money protection scheme. Prospective schemes will be announced in early 2019 with the law being enacted most likely in April 2019. It is already a legal requirement for agents operating in Scotland and Wales to hold this important consumer protection insurance. The aim of the regulation is to create a level playing field for the letting industry, as well as to increase protection for renters. Agents who do not belong to a scheme by this date could be fined up to £30,000.
10. April (TBC): Tenants’ Fee Bill
Tenant fees were banned in Scotland in 2012, and a bill currently in discussion in Parliament could lead to the same thing happening in England. For tenants – many of whom are charged significant sums to rent a property – this would be good news, but it could cause problems for landlords. While many landlords manage their own properties, those who use an agent should look out for agents compensating for lost revenue by increasing landlord fees instead.
11. TBC: Publication of rogue landlords database
2019 is expected to be the year when the government’s rogue landlords database is made accessible to the public. The decision to allow access was made after it was discovered that the database remained empty six months after its creation, and that it was originally designed to be private. The government expect the population of the database to begin early this year, giving tenants more peace of mind.
12. November (date TBC): National Landlord Day
Hosted by the Scottish Association of Landlords, National Landlord Day is the UK’s largest landlord conference and is held in Edinburgh late each year. The event features both a conference and an exhibition, with topics covered in 2018 including “protecting your rental income in the face of changing taxation”, “top 10 things to look out for with landlord insurance”, and “what’s new in property finance?”.
13. TBC: Introduction of three-year minimum tenancies
Currently, many ASTs have a fixed term of just six or twelve months, giving renters little security. However, the government have consulted on the possibility of introducing a three-year minimum term (with a six month break clause) to improve long-term security for both tenants and landlords alike. This year, expect more progress on this front…
14. TBC: Tougher electrical safety standards
In early 2018, the government launched a consultation recommending that new, tougher electrical safety standards be implemented to give better protection to private tenants. The consultation included recommendations such as mandatory five-yearly electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties, and safety certificates for tenants. Should these recommendations be implemented, landlords who don’t comply could expect a fine of up to £30,000 or a banning order.
15. Prepare for 2020: MEES for existing tenancies
In April 2018, new requirements came into force meaning that properties with new or renewed tenancy agreements must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E. As of April 1st 2020, these requirements will also be applied to existing tenancies. 2019 should be the year to ensure that your rental properties comply, as landlords found in breach of these requirements could be fined up to £4,000.
From events and changes in regulation to the outcomes of Brexit, 2019 is set to be a big year for landlords across the UK. Which challenges are you, as a landlord, most concerned about? Let us know via Twitter.
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