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SWLA Inheritance Tax Webinar – Well Attended and Informative

Posted on September 30th, 2021 -

Last night, we welcomed Melanie Cotterill (Head of Wills and Trust) from Roper James Solicitors as our guest speaker. Melanie presented via Zoom on the subject of inheritance tax; a general view. Melanie talked through the Residents Nil Rate Band Allowance, Lifetime Gifting and available exemptions.  

The evening was well attended with over 60 members listening in. Some interesting questions were asked by our members, and Melanie talked through the answers in depth.

We received lots of great feedback and we would like to thank Melanie for presenting.

We will have more webinars in the coming months, invites will be sent by email.

This is why the government need to introduce a Tenancy Hardship Grant in England- SWLA are asking MPs to act

Posted on September 29th, 2021 -

Article by the BBC; Covid debt: A baby, job loss – and now eviction – BBC News

Tenants are being evicted due to rent arrears built up during the Covid pandemic, despite the government saying no-one should lose their home as a result of the crisis.

One-third of hearings monitored in England and Wales over the summer explicitly cited the pandemic as the reason for the arrears, an investigation has found. The average hearing lasted just 10 minutes.

“We had a few safety nets, but they weren’t enough for Covid,” says Marshall Kinder-Maiss, 27.

Three weeks before the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, he and his partner Joanne thought their dreams had come true. After 18 months of trying to conceive a child, Joanne had just given birth to a baby boy, Roman. To support his growing family, Marshall, a chef, decided to leave his job at a Nando’s restaurant in Liverpool to take a better-paid role with a city-centre cafe.

Marshall had a week off between his old job and his new one. And that was the week when Covid restrictions were introduced. Marshall’s new job offer was withdrawn. And as he had left his former employer, he wasn’t eligible for the government’s furlough scheme.

The couple’s income plummeted. Until their claim for Universal Credit was processed, their only money was Joanne’s maternity pay of £150 a week. When the couple were both working full-time, they used to take home around £2,000 a month. Their £450-a-month rent quickly became unaffordable as overdrafts were maximised to pay for living expenses. They’ve struggled to pay rent ever since.

“It was not how it was supposed to be,” says Joanne, 24. “It makes me feel a bit sick. We both grew up coming from poverty so we tried our best to get out of that. We’ve always been working people, and now I just feel like our son has been born into the exact same situation.

“All of our peers – they’re not in this position. So it’s a bit humiliating to be honest.”

They are now £4,000 in rent arrears and have been served with an eviction notice. They must leave the house by 11 October.

In March 2020, former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted that “no-one should lose their home as a result of the coronavirus epidemic”. A ban on bailiff evictions was introduced in England and Wales. This ended in England in May this year, and in Wales the following month.

To investigate the impact of this, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) sent reporters to 30 county courts in England and Wales throughout July and August.

Of the 555 cases involving either private or social housing landlords, 270 ended in a possession order. A third of those, 88 cases, explicitly mentioned the impact that Covid had had on their finances.

Court bailiffs were “swamped” following the end of the eviction ban, lawyers told the BBC.

Marshall and Joanne have decided not to go to Liverpool County Court to challenge their landlord’s legal action. They have been advised by their legal representative that it would be “pointless”.

They have been served with a Section Eight order, used when a tenant breaks the terms of the rental agreement. This acts as a mandatory ground for repossession if the landlord can prove that the tenant has arrears of at least two months.

Last year, MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee recommended changes in the law to give judges discretion in deciding each individual case. The government chose to ignore the recommendation.

On Monday, the BBC visited Wandsworth County Court – a crumbling three-storey building in south London – to witness possession orders being rapidly handed down, some within just five minutes.

The individuals or families in question will be forced out of their homes in just two weeks’ time.

Only one tenant appeared in person during the session. She told the court she had been unable, during the pandemic, to find her usual agency work as an executive PA. This left her unable to afford the £1,600 a month rent on her one-bedroom flat in Hammersmith, west London.

She had racked up £24,000 in rent arrears. The court ordered her to leave her property by 4 October. In addition to her rent arrears, she must pay £604 in interest, and the landlord’s £3,000 legal costs.

The woman, who did not want to be named, told the BBC she would stay with a friend for the first two weeks. She has no idea where she will live after that.

“I don’t know what to do. I’ve found a job, but my credit history is so bad, I doubt I’ll find a place,” she said.

Marshall and Joanne say they have the same problem.

Marshall found a new job three months ago, working for a food delivery firm, and is now looking for a second job to supplement his wage. But they don’t have any savings to pay a deposit, and their credit rating is now poor.

And they face fierce competition for a new home, says Joanne.

“They’re really sought after because there are a lot of evictions, so people are desperate to get a house.”

Marshall says he phones the council an average of once a week to enquire about social housing, but has been told there are others whose need is greater.

The couple say they definitely plan to pay back their arrears once they are able to.

The average tenant in the cases analysed by the TBIJ had £6,500 worth of rent arrears. But a judge at another London court told the BBC he had come across one set of tenants with arrears of £190,000 in recent weeks. Some tenants had “undoubtedly taken advantage” of the evictions ban, he said, in effect to live rent-free.

Landlady Michelle Dighton, 41, believes this is the case with a tenant in one of her rental properties.

She is owed more than £25,000 in rent arrears as she says her tenant – in Croydon, south London – hasn’t paid rent since October 2019. She says that she delayed serving an eviction notice, hoping to resolve the situation amicably.

But when the government introduced the eviction ban, Michelle found herself stuck. Legal delays have further prevented the mother-of-two from sending round the bailiffs.

“I have to pay a mortgage and service fee for the flat, but I’m not getting any income from it.”

Michelle says, as a tenant herself, she understands why the government introduced the eviction ban, “but the courts can’t distinguish between those who can’t pay and those who won’t pay”.

“My tenant’s arrears have nothing to do with Covid,” she thinks.

Although the majority of tenants whose cases were monitored by TBIJ were served a Section Eight eviction notice, a fifth were served a Section 21 notice. Section 21 is a controversial part of the 1988 Housing Act which allows landlords to evict people without giving a specific reason. Often called “no fault” or “revenge” evictions, the Conservatives promised to scrap them in their 2019 manifesto.

Ministers said they will outline their proposals “in due course”.

In a statement, the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Our £352bn support package has helped renters throughout the pandemic, and prevented a build-up of rent arrears. We also took unprecedented action to help keep people in their homes by extending notice periods and pausing evictions at the height of the pandemic.

“As the economy re-opens, it is right that these measures are now being lifted and we are delivering a fairer and more effective private rental sector that works for both landlords and tenants.”

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “Here in Wales, we have made significant additional help available for tenants, including additional funding for Discretionary Housing Payments and grants to clear Covid-related rent arrears. This support goes far beyond any support UK government have provided.”

555 private and social landlord hearings observed

  • 270ended in an outright possession order
  • 88possession orders mentioned Covid
  • 10minutes average case time
  • £6,500average (median) tenant arrears

Source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (July and August 2021)

Free MEES Webinar for Landlords Hosted by The Centre for Sustainable Energy & Bristol City Council – Wednesday 6th October 2021

Posted on September 24th, 2021 -

**Please note, this is not an SWLA webinar, please book direct with the host**

Subject – Understanding MEES Obligations

A webinar for landlords and agents to understand the Minimum Energy Efficiency
Standards Regulations

When – Wednesday 6 October 2021 at 5pm via TEAMS

Register for this online webinar by clicking here; private.landlords@bristol.gov.uk

Find out at this webinar about:
• What are the MEES regulations?
• Understanding and interpreting your EPC
• Costs for bringing a property to meet the future minimum C level
from an E
• Funding options
• Exemptions

The webinar will be presented by Sonia Pruzinsky and Pete McNeil from CSE and
moderated by Fran Miller, Bristol City Council. The centre for sustainable energy
(CSE) is an independent national charity that shares its knowledge and experience to
help people change the way they think and act on energy. They do this by giving
advice, managing innovative energy projects, training, and supporting others to act,
and undertaking research and policy analysis.

After registering you will receive a link to the webinar on Teams.

For any queries please contact private.landlords@bristol.gov.uk

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Delayed until April 2024

Posted on September 24th, 2021 -

Businesses get more time to prepare for digital tax changes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Article from gov.uk.

Businesses will have an extra year to prepare for the digitalisation of Income Tax, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced today.

Recognising the challenges faced by many UK businesses and their representatives as the country emerges from the pandemic, and having listened to stakeholder feedback, the government will introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) a year later than planned, in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

A later start for MTD for ITSA gives those required to join more time to prepare and for HMRC to deliver a robust service, with additional time for customer testing in the pilot.

Forming part of the government’s ambition to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, Making Tax Digital is the first phase of HMRC’s move towards a modern, digital tax service fit for the 21st century. It supports businesses through their digitalisation journey and provides a digital service that many have come to expect in their everyday lives.

Lucy Frazer, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

The digital tax system we are building will be more efficient, make it easier for customers to get tax right, and bring wider benefits in increased productivity.

But we recognise that, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical that everyone has enough time to prepare for the change, which is why we’re giving people an extra year to do so.

We remain firmly committed to Making Tax Digital and building a tax system fit for the 21st century.

MTD for Income Tax will now be mandated for businesses and landlords with a business income over £10,000 per annum in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

General partnerships will not be required to join MTD for ITSA until the tax year beginning in April 2025, while the date other types of partnerships will be required to join will be confirmed in the future.

In March 2021, the government announced a new, fairer system of penalties for the late filing and late payment of tax for ITSA. The new penalty system for those who are mandated for MTD for ITSA will now come into effect in the tax year beginning in April 2024, and in the tax year beginning in April 2025 for all other ITSA taxpayers.

For many businesses, MTD is a natural extension of the way they already operate. Evidence shows that many businesses currently operating MTD are already experiencing wider benefits and reductions in input errors.

Eligible businesses and landlords will have the opportunity to gain the benefits of MTD early by signing up to the pilot, which is already underway and will be gradually expanded during the 2022 to 2023 tax year, ready for larger scale testing in the 2023 to 2024 tax year.

Collaboration with tax professionals and customers has been key in the development of MTD and HMRC has worked closely with partners in the business and tax communities on the proposed design and scope of MTD for ITSA.

The laying of regulations today sets out the technical details of how MTD for ITSA will work, and its new launch date – giving certainty to businesses.

HMRC will continue to work in close partnership with business and accountancy representative bodies and software developers to ensure taxpayers are well supported as they adopt MTD for ITSA.

Further information

Last year, the government published Building a trusted, modern tax administration system, setting out a vision of a UK tax system fit for the 21st century, designed to improve its resilience, effectiveness and support for taxpayers. MTD is the first phase of a move toward this modern, digital tax service.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) first launched for those with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000 per annum) in April 2019. Since MTD for VAT was launched in April 2019, over 1.5 million businesses have signed up, including a number of VAT-registered businesses that have joined voluntarily.

VAT-registered businesses with taxable turnover below the threshold need to have joined MTD for their first tax return from April 2022. Over 30% of these customers have already signed up voluntarily.

As part of the 2020 announcement, the government set out that it would be extending MTD to businesses and landlords with business and/or property income over £10,000 per annum that are liable for Income Tax from April 2023.

MTD for Income Tax is now being introduced from the tax year beginning in April 2024. Those within scope will need to keep digital records and use software to update HMRC quarterly, through MTD software, however, MTD does not change when taxpayers need to pay their tax. This announcement does not affect the MTD for Income Tax pilot, which will continue as planned.

To align with the introduction of MTD for Income Tax in 2024, reformed penalties are being introduced for Income Tax taxpayers required to use MTD in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

For all other Income Tax taxpayers, the new penalty regime will be introduced in the tax year beginning in April 2025.

Simple partnerships will not be required to join MTD for Income Tax until the tax year beginning in April 2025. HMRC will confirm at a later date when complex partnerships will be required to join.

For further information see;

Check when to sign up for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

SWLA Inheritance Tax Webinar

Posted on September 22nd, 2021 -

When – 7pm Wednesday 29th September 2021
Subject- Inheritance Tax – Know Your Limits 
Where- Zoom

Melanie Cotterill of Roper James Solicitors will be presenting on the subject of inheritance tax. It will be a general view of inheritance tax to include; Residents Nil Rate Band Allowance, Lifetime Gifting and available exemptions.  

If you would like to register for this webinar, please email the SWLA office to book your free place.

The Zoom link will be sent to all registered members prior to the webinar.

Ashley Taylor Webinar 22/09/2021

Posted on September 20th, 2021 -


Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal invites all SWLA members to the following free landlord webinar; 
When – 11am Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Subject- 1. Changes coming in on 01 October  2. Sub-letting 
Where- Zoom

Martyn will be updating attendees on recent cases of concern and forthcoming changes in practice.  With the end of some of the Coronavirus restrictions, there are changes coming in from 01 October which you will need to be aware of. The specific subject this month is Sub Letting, authorised or not, the pitfalls, dangers and damage limitation.  Too many landlords are being caught out and landed with costs they never thought possible.

If you would like to sign up, please click the following registration link;

Register in advance for this webinar:

The webinar is limited to 500 attendees on a first come, first served basis.


Posted on September 15th, 2021 -

Gas Safety Week: Fighting for a Gas Safe Nation Landlords’ legal responsibilities – Annual Gas Safety Checks

We are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2021, taking place 13 – 19 September.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it or smell it.

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords must make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure their tenants and wider communities stay safe.

If you’re a landlord, you are legally obliged to make sure:

· Gas pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.

· All gas appliances and flues provided for tenants’ use have an annual safety check. Your tenants can report you to the HSE if you don’t provide one, so it’s important to remember! You can set a free email and/or text reminder so you don’t forget, visit StayGasSafe.co.uk.

· A Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in.

· You keep a copy of the Gas Safety Record until two further checks have taken place.

· Maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.

· All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting.

Before any gas work is carried out always check the engineer is qualified to carry out the work that needs doing e.g. natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the Gas Safe Register website or by checking the back of the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Encourage your tenants to also check the card when the engineer arrives at the property.

For more information and to find or check an engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk

Notice Periods to Return to Pre Covid Lengths from 01 October 2021

Posted on September 9th, 2021 -

The UK Government has confirmed that notice periods will return to their pre-COVID lengths from 01 October 2021.

Following the pandemic and the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the UK Government initially increased all notices to six months for most grounds (including Section 21 notices), with exemptions for certain serious cases.

From 01 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 notice periods were at least four months in most circumstances, apart from exemptions for the most serious cases.

Moving forward, the UK Government retain the power to implement any similar measures again in the future should the public health situation worsen. To this end, legislation has been tabled that retains the ability for the UK Government to reapply longer notice periods until 25 March 2022 as a backstop.

Additionally, they will update the landlord, tenant and local authority renting guidance and court guidance ahead of 01 October 2021 to reflect that notice periods will be reverting to their pre-COVID lengths.

There will be brand new section 21 and 8 notices for use in England from 1 October 2021.

Section 8 Minimum Notice Periods from 01 August 2021

The notice periods for rent arrears grounds 8,10 and 11 changed to:

  • two months if the rent arrears are less than four months in total at the time the notice is served; or
  • four weeks if the rent arrears are more than four months in total at the time the notice is served and no other ground is being relied on.

Section 8 Minimum Notice Periods From 01 October 2021

Notice periods revert to pre-COVID lengths;

  • Section 8 using any of grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 16 – two months and cannot expire before the end of the fixed term
  • Section 8 using the rent arrears grounds (8, 10 and 11) – two weeks
  • Section 8 using grounds 3, 4, 6, 7b, 12, 13, 14A, 14ZA, 15 or 17 – two weeks
  • Section 8 using ground 7a (anti-social behaviour with a conviction) – One month for fixed term tenancy, 4 weeks for periodic tenancy.
  • Section 8 using Ground 14 (the discretionary ground for anti-social behaviour) – Immediately after the notice counts as served (usually 24 hours)

Section 21 Minimum Notice Periods

Prior to 26 March 2020 – 2 months

26 March 2020 – 28 August 2020 – 3 months

29 August 2020 – 31 May 2021 – 6 months

01 June 2021 – 30 September 2021 – 4 months

01 October 2021 – 2 months

SWLA Office

Posted on September 3rd, 2021 -

Thank you to all of the traders who worked on modernising our office front, a brilliant job, I am sure our members will agree.

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