New changes to legislation came into effect at the start of the new tax year (1st April 2016).

The big four legislations for lettings and buy-to-let include: SDLT changes, the abolishion of Wear and Tear allowance, tenants right to request energy efficiency improvements, and Universal Credit. ARLA explains:

Higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for buy-to-let properties have now been introduced and apply from 1 April. A surcharge of 3% will be payable on all buy-to-let properties and second homes.

David Cox, ARLA MD said: “We’re about to see supply nosedive, demand sky-rocket and rent prices go through the roof. The introduction of the new stamp duty charges is set to push the private rental sector into a state of despair.” “In order for landlords to be able to afford to own a BTL property, tenants will begin to see the additional costs passed onto them, which means they could see less money spent on maintaining their property, and also an increase in rent costs.

Wear and Tear Allowance
The current 10% Wear and Tear Allowance which allows landlords to reduce the tax they pay, regardless of whether they replace the furnishings in their property, will be replaced. From April 2016 landlords will only be allowed to deduct the costs they actually incur for replacing furnishings in their rental properties.

Right to request energy efficient improvements

Tenants now have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to the property they are renting that may not be unreasonably refused by their landlord, provided that:

– The measure is one of the energy efficiency measures listed in the Schedule to the Green Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) Order 2012, or is a measure to be installed in order to connect to the gas network;

– The improvements can be financed at no cost to the landlord – this may be from central government, a local authority or any other person;

– It can be wholly funded by the tenant/s themselves;

– OR it an be wholly financed by a combination of two or more of the financial arrangement listed above.

Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It will replace the six outgoing benefits including housing benefit and is currently being rolled out across the UK.

In times of many recent legislative changes, Landlords and Letting Professionals are put under pressure to keep up-to-date with all new regulations. As licensed members of ARLA, landlords and tenants are guaranteed to be using a professional agent that understands and complies with the current legislation and best practice. iConn are “governed by a Code of Practice”, and therefore able to provide a framework of ethical and professional standards at a level far higher than the law demands, making sure our landlords and tenants remain in safe hands.