Commercial Property to Let Barnet
May 25, 2020 No Comments

Landlords and the Law – Key Changes in 2020

Posted by Maunder Taylor in News

It is essential that all landlords, whether they own business premises or additional homes, keep abreast of all their legal responsibilities. If you fail to comply with any of the latest regulations, you could be prosecuted by your local council or the Health and Safety Executive.

Landlords and the Law – Key Changes in 2020

Maunder Taylor can act as managing agents on behalf of landlords with residential and commercial property to let in Barnet, Potters Bar and many other parts of London and Hertfordshire. Here we examine some of the key changes which have been introduced this year.

Electrical Checks

Electrical safety checks must now be carried out in all rental properties as part of the new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. The initial inspections will need to be carried out by 1st April 2021 by a qualified electrician.

To continue to comply with the legislation, the checks must be carried out at least once every five years. The whole scheme is being overseen by your local licensing authority (usually your local council).

Energy Performance Certificates

These certificates, are also known as EPCs, are provided by people known as domestic energy assessors. They apply to any building, including non-rental properties, which use either heating or air conditioning.

The certificate provides a grading which rates your property according to the energy it uses when it is heated or cooled, and the amount of any carbon dioxide emissions. Along with the rating, the assessor will also include a report which makes recommendations on how the energy efficiency of the building can be improved.

Effective from this year, you will not be permitted to rent out any property unless it has at least an ‘E’ rating on its EPC. (A is the most energy efficient and G the least). Up until this year, this legislation only applied to new tenancies – now it applies to all rental premises or homes.

Mortgage Tax Relief

This is part of a phased scheme which first came into effect in April 2017, when the maximum level of mortgage tax relief was cut from 100% to 75%. Further reductions followed in 2018 (to 50%) and last year, when it was reduced to 25%.

From April 2020, landlords can no longer claim any mortgage tax relief at all. However, you will be eligible to receive a 20% tax credit on your interest payments.

The Tenants’ Fees Act

The changes to the Tenants’ Fees Act are extensions to the current legislation. The Act means that landlords and letting agents are not permitted to charge any fees other than rents, deposits and any penalties if the tenant defaults on the contract.

This means that landlords are not allowed to charge ‘extras’ for items such as cleaning services or the tenant has a pet. The scheme was first introduced in June 2019 for new lets, but now it applies to all rental properties.

The Current Situation – The Coronavirus Lockdown

During the coronavirus lockdown period, the UK government has made no special arrangements for the rental sector, so tenants are still liable to pay their rent according to the terms of their contract. However, it is advising landlords to be as flexible as possible with both the monthly rent and any arrears, by offering tenants flexible payment terms or a rental ‘holiday’.

Changes in the Pipeline – The Renters’ Reform Bill

The Renters’ Reform Bill was backed by all the major parties ahead of last year’s General Election, but it has not yet become law. It means ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished and a new lifetime deposit scheme will be introduced, which a tenant can ‘roll over’ from one property to another.

The Bill also means landlords will have more rights to gain access to their property through the courts. The overall aim of the legislation is to have a ‘more effective and fairer rental market.’

Residential and Commercial Property to Let with Maunder Taylor

We can act as managing agents on behalf of landlords with either residential or commercial property to let in Barnet, Potters Bar and other areas of Hertfordshire and London. Our experienced team is aware of all the recent changes in the law and will ensure you meet all your legal obligations.

If you would like to know more, follow this link and fill in the online form. You can also call our Whetstone office on 020 8446 0011, and our Potters Bar office, for residential management queries only, can be contacted on 01707 665 666.