15 key dates for landlords in 2021
While every new year brings with it changes to taxation and legislation, this coming year is likely to bring a bit more change than usual.
COVID-19 has cast a significant shadow over the property market, and of course, the economy as a whole. Many landlords have felt obliged to lower rents, while others have struggled to evict anti-social or non-paying tenants due to the ban on evictions (which was in place in England until September 2020).
On top of this, house prices are predicted to fall by more than 10 per cent in 2021.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite having to navigate COVID safety regulations and changing legislation, the rental market is still thriving. No matter what the future brings, our list of key dates for 2021 will help you stay one step ahead of the curve.
1. 1 January: Brexit
In case you hadn’t heard, on 1 January, the UK will leave the European Union, so it’s vital that you do your homework about what to do and what to expect.
Brexit will naturally bring legislative changes for UK landlords – some of which are likely to be welcomed by UK landlords. For example, the end of the EU Mortgage Credit Directive, which should make it easier and cheaper for you to get a mortgage as a landlord. However, Brexit will also certainly have an impact on the housing market, and the economy as a whole. What will happen to interest rates for example? We’ll have to wait and see…
2. 27 January: National Landlord Investment Show (online)
After a hiatus in 2020 (for obvious reasons) the UK’s number one landlord and property investment exhibition is back at the end of January. The virtual event offers everything from seminars with industry experts to networking opportunities, as well as high quality content in areas such as mortgage and finance, investment, and tax.
3. 29 January: Second reading of the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accomodation and Protection) Bill
For landlords, the new year starts with the second reading of a proposed new law which would allow tenants to have a pet without their landlord’s approval. The Dogs and Domestic Animals Bill has been put forward by Conservative MP, Andrew Rosindell, and is being supported by a number of animal welfare charities including the RSPCA.
If passed, this would mean (as long as renters can prove they are responsible owners) tenants would have an assumed right to take a pet into any rented accommodation.
4. 31 January: Online tax return deadline
It may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people miss the deadline for the online tax return. So, as boring as it sounds, 31 January is definitely one for the diary. Of course, once you’ve filed your return, you’ll need to pay what you owe by the same date.
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5. February: New Scottish smoke alarm law
After the tragic Grenfell fire, a new law is being passed in Scotland next year to ensure all homeowners and renters are adequately protected from the threat of fire.
From February 2021, all Scottish homes must have a smoke alarm in living rooms, hallways and landings, heat alarms in kitchens, and carbon monoxide alarms near boilers or wood burners.
6. March: Changes to eviction legislation
Due to the pandemic, landlords are currently legally obliged to give tenants six months’ warning for all evictions.
While there are caveats for certain circumstances – domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour, and more than six months’ worth of rent arrears – this law has made eviction much harder and lengthier.
The good news for landlords is that this rule is set to end in March 2021.