Energy efficiency will be important
You hopefully know that as of 1st of April 2018, all new tenancies have to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard, or MEES. Landlords must ensure that their property holds an Energy Performance Certificate, EPC, of at least an E. By April of 2020, this will be the standard for all tenancies, including existing tenancies.
While this change only impacts on landlords who currently have property classed as F or G with respect to EPC, there is no doubt that improving the energy efficiency of property is important. Landlords should consider making improvements in this area, even if they comply with the new regulations.
Longer term tenancies will be encouraged
It is hoped that the Government will provide incentives for landlords who are able to provide longer term tenancies. A consultation period on this was announced during the Autumn Budget and it is easy to see how this can benefit tenants and landlords. A tenant is able to settle in and feel at home while landlords can minimise the risk of void periods and the cost of advertising and vetting new tenants.
There have been calls for tax relief to be provided to landlords that offer longer tenancies but there will likely be other suggestions too. Whatever outcome happens, it can only be hoped that landlords will be provided with incentives to provide a wider range of services.
There may also be changes to the rent-a-room tax relief, with many experts suggesting this will be redesigned in the year ahead.
Changes to a tenant’s credit report with respect to rent payments
The Government has announced they are looking for ways to include rental payments on a person’s credit history. This change may not be in place this year but the study of this area could make life easier for landlords. If a person’s credit history details their rental payment history, landlords should be able to make a more informed judgment on a tenant’s ability or likeliness to pay rent on time and in full.
The rogue landlord database should be operational
At this point in time, the database of rogue landlords will be operational by April of 2018. This information will be provided to local and central government, but it may create a change in the supply of property is rogue landlords are targeted and prevented from operating.
These changes will likely impact on landlords throughout the year but hopefully there will be fewer shocks and changes compared to previous years. If you are a landlord looking to stay in touch with industry news this year, be sure to stay in touch with Austin Property Services.