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Important Dates For Property Owners In The UK

By Darragh Timlin on October 25th, 2022

With the ever-changing rules around property lettings, landlords must keep on top of new legislation that applies to the property sector. There are ongoing updates and changes to legislation that can be easily missed if you don’t keep up with the news. Landlords need to make a note of key dates that could affect their property letting business to allow them to avoid any costly law breaches.

Landlords also have a duty of care to ensure their tenants live in a safe property, so it makes sense to protect yourself, and your investments with tailored landlord insurance that will be invaluable should your rental property be affected by fire, flood or storm damage.

In June 2022, the government published its rental reform white paper; the “Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper“, which includes changes in the rules around letting to tenants with pets and moving towards the end of Section 21 evictions. The proposed changes in the law for landlords and tenants are the biggest in a generation.

Here is a brief overview of the new rules for landlords contained in the white paper:

    • If landlords do refuse pets, tenants can challenge their decision
    • Landlords will be able to require that renters get insurance to cover property damage caused by pets
    • Landlords will need to have a “good reason” not to let tenants have a pet in their home
    • Landlords will no longer be able to have a blanket ban on renting to families with children or those who receive benefits
    • Section 21 evictions will be scrapped – tenancies will only end if a tenant ends it or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law
    • The decent homes standard (currently used in social housing) will be extended to private rental homes

Further changes to property letting rules

The government also announced more measures to make the property rental market fairer for all parties. These measures include:

      • A new property portal will help landlords understand their obligations and give tenants “performance information”
      • A Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords without the need to go to court
      • All tenants will be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies. This means they can leave poor-quality housing without having to pay the rent or move more quickly when their circumstances change
      • Councils will have more powers to tackle criminal landlords, with increased fines for serious offences
      • Landlords will be able to gain possession of their properties from anti-social tenants and can sell them when they need to
      • Notice periods for rent increases will be doubled, giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they’re unjustified

Key dates for landlords

There are several key dates in the calendar that landlords need to note as many of them require action on the part of the landlord or have introduced new government legislation that can affect how you let your properties and how you draw up your tenancy agreements.

These notable dates include:

January 31st self-assessment date for landlords

31st January is the deadline for online self-assessment tax returns for the tax year. However, 31st January 2022 was the first time the new mortgage interest tax relief credit was applied. This allows landlord’s to offset 20% of their mortgage interest payments when filing their tax return.

January 2022, new rules on allowing pets

In January 2022, the government introduced a new Model Tenancy Agreement where landlords can no longer issue blanket bans on tenants’ pets in England. If you don’t want to let to tenants with pets, you must now object in writing when you receive a pet request from a tenant. You can now only reject a tenant with pets if there is a good reason.

February 2022, Energy Price Cap Increases

The government announced the new energy price cap that became effective on 1st April 2022. The latest price cap increased, causing energy bills to rise accordingly. Landlords need to be mindful of the extra financial pressure this puts on their tenants, and for landlords with HMOs, how the price increase could affect their profit margin.

Capital Gains Tax deadline changes

The 2021 Autumn Budget introduced changes to the filing deadlines for reporting and paying capital gains tax when selling a property. The change means landlords selling a buy-to-let property now have 60 days to report and pay Capital Gains Tax rather than 30 days.

Eviction notices

The June 2022 “Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper” introduced plans to end Section 21 evictions. The government hopes to introduce a Renters Reform Act before March 2023, which will end Section 21 evictions and move to use Section 8 instead. Before then, there will likely be consultations, and the measures must be approved in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Lifetime deposit scheme

The Renters’ Reform Bill includes plans to replace standard tenant security deposits with a lifetime deposit. This means that the tenants’ deposit will move with them when they move home rather than being held by the landlord and paid back to the tenant on the vacation of the property.

New energy efficiency rules by 2025

The government announced changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for England and Wales. This means that all rental properties will need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above by 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for every existing tenancy. Not having a valid EPC could mean landlords facing penalties of up to £30,000.

New green mortgages for Landlords

The Bank of England is subjecting UK banks to ‘climate-related stress tests’ to help improve energy efficiency. This means that mortgage lenders can incentivise property owners to be more energy efficient by giving better deals for properties rated ‘C’ or above on the EPC. Landlords owning less energy-efficient properties could end up paying higher mortgage rates in comparison.

Buy to let mortgage inflation

With inflation likely to remain high or even increase further with another raise in the Bank of England’s base rate, buy-to-let mortgage rates are expected to continue to grow as we enter 2023.

Conclusion

Landlords need to prepare for government rental reforms by reading the white paper to understand all the new proposals and how they will be affected. They should also keep an eye out for new measures being introduced as they make their way through Parliament.

The proposed reforms could mean landlords revising their tenancy agreements, while others will have to look at cost-effective ways to make energy-efficiency improvements to their rental properties. Our business insurance policies are designed to offer peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what you do best: running your business.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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