For any landlord – even the most seasoned and experienced – it can be difficult keeping up with the constantly changing raft of legislation and regulations relevant to your buy to let business.
So that you stay abreast of the most likely new landlord and property regulations for 2022, here is our selection of some of those milestones. Please note that these are based on our current understanding of proposals but may be liable to change.
Whilst you are keeping yourself up to date with the latest legislation, we are also helping you safeguard your business in the year ahead – notably, through our Rent Guarantee Insurance product which protects your income stream if your tenants fail to pay their rent as well as providing you with the legal expenses cover necessary while you pursue those arrears*.
The government has been pursuing measures to improve the energy efficiency of all let residential and commercial properties, revealing that 60% of the total housing stock currently has an EPC rating of just D or below.
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for landlords, which came into effect in 2018, made it illegal for landlords to let property that did not achieve a minimum E rating for its EPC.
Since the 1st of April 2020, this requirement has applied to all let property.
Standards continue to be tightened and you might reasonably expect further moves during 2022 towards the government’s stated target of EPC ratings of C or above for all newly let property with effect from the 1st of April 2025 and all let property from 2028.
To reduce the incidence of in-person contact during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, the government allowed virtual checking of tenants’ right to rent documents.
These concessions are likely to come to an end on the 5th of April 2022 – when in-person checking routines will return to normal.
Although the energy price cap – the maximum your tenants can be charged by energy suppliers – was increased by £139 in October 2021, the government are expected to announce any further changes in February 2022 – for implementation in April of that year. Advising your tenants of this expected change may help them with budgeting.
If your buy to let business has a turnover of more than £85,000 a year, you will already be filing VAT returns under HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) making tax digital initiative.
With effect from the 1st of April 2022, all VAT-registered enterprises – regardless of turnover – will need to acquire the relevant software and file digital MTD returns.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that from 2022 all new residential and commercial buildings – including those receiving major refurbishment – will be required to include charging points for electric vehicles (EVs).
More and more tenants during 2022 can be expected to ask their landlord to allow them to keep a pet in their rented accommodation.
Thanks to changes to the government-sponsored model tenancy agreement, from January 2021, the default expectation is that landlords will allow all such reasonable applications – landlords are not compelled to comply with the model agreement, but the modified wording clearly lends support to those tenants wanting to keep a pet.
A renters’ reform bill – which would include the abolition of the current Section 21 of the housing act and reform of its section 8 – has been on the cards for some time, with a government white paper on the subject scheduled to appear in 2021.
The pandemic has delayed the schedule and further developments on the proposed bill can be expected during 2022.
Although no date has yet been set for implementation, 2022 is likely to see a general tightening of the regulations binding landlords on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors – closer guidance on the placement of such devices, for example, together with the type and standard of those installed.
2022 could prove a period of increasing regulation and legislation impacting the life of the buy to let landlord. To stay ahead of the game, you need to keep abreast of any such changes. You can check the Government website, your local council or speak to your letting or managing agent to keep appraised.
*Claim limits apply. These will be defined within your policy documentation.