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Ashley Taylor Webinar 19/01/2022

Posted on January 14th, 2022 -


Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal invites all SWLA members to the following free landlord webinar;
When – 11am Wednesday 19th January 2022
Subject- It’s 2022 – Let’s be aware of the changes coming.’
Where- Zoom

Martyn will be updating attendees on making sure Section 8 notices are correct and ensuring landlords do not double up accidently on notices which might already be served and still valid. Also a general look into common possession pitfalls. 

In addition there will be a “standard update” on any recent developments in practice affecting the procedures that need to be carried out by landlords – and any cases that merit attention and reaction! i.e. the little things that we need to be aware of and take note in our actions to get things right.

If you would like to sign up, please click the following registration link to register in advance; https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4JetXiXISN2fmbV64UeKVg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Any questions in advance please email to events@ashleytaylors.co.uk.

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

Bristol – New Licencing Schemes from 06 April 2022 – (Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield Wards)

Posted on January 5th, 2022 -

The proposals for Additional Licensing of Private Rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield wards and Selective licensing scheme of all other privately rented properties in Bedminster and Brislington West wards were approved by the Cabinet and the scheme will come into force on 6 April 2022.  The scheme will be in operation for five years. 

Most privately rented properties (including HMOs) in Bedminster and Brislington West wards, and HMOs only in Horfield ward, will require a licence from 6 April 2022 and each property will be inspected at least once during the lifetime of the scheme to ensure that they meet licensing standards.

An HMO is a property where three or more persons who are not related, occupy the accommodation and share some facilities such as bathroom and/or kitchen.

It is a legal requirement for landlords to make a licence application for each property that they let in the area that needs a licence. Failure to do so could result in enforcement action and prosecution. A fee is charged for each licence, payable in two stages, the first on application, the second part before the licence is issued.

Landlords with properties with Mandatory Licences do not need to make a further application under this scheme.

Further details on how to make a licence application will be sent in due course and will be included on our website https://www.bristol.gov.uk/licences-permits/property-licences where you can also find out more information about property licensing.

The Property Licensing scheme was approved by the Mayor at the council’s Cabinet meeting. All comments, observations or queries concerning this decision should be directed to your elected representative (ward councillor) and not through the council’s complaint procedure.

Information from Bristol City Council


Posted on January 5th, 2022 -

Meeting; AGM –

Date; Wednesday 19th January 19:30 –

Venue; Future Inn Plymouth –

SWLA Members Only

Call for Evidence on Income Tax Self Assessment Registration for the Self-employed & Landlords (30/11/21 – 22/02/22)

Posted on December 22nd, 2021 -

The government has published a call for evidence on Income Tax Self Assessment registration for the self-employed and landlords. You can find it at: Open consultation overview: Call for evidence: Income Tax Self Assessment registration for the self-employed and landlords – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). This will run for 12 weeks from 30 November 2021, ending on 22 February 2022.

They are keen to hear from a wide range of respondents and are planning a series of themed online discussion workshops in January and February. If you would be interested in attending please contact itsaregistrationconsultation@hmrc.gov.uk

Cornwall – Tenancy Sustainment and Rescue Project

Posted on December 22nd, 2021 -

A new scheme is being launched in Cornwall to help renters who are facing eviction to stay in their homes. Cornwall Council has set aside £700,000 to assist landlords and tenants in preventing homelessness, with up to £5,000 available for each instance.

The tenancy sustainment and rescue project will help tenants of privately-owned properties who have fallen behind with their rent and are therefore threatened with being made homeless.

It is hoped that landlords thinking about serving notice due to rent arrears will feel that this is a ‘much needed lifeline’ and get in touch. Citizens’ Advice Cornwall will work with tenants and landlords on a case-by-case basis, looking at the reason for the arrears, and provide advice and assistance. They will also work with landlords to maintain the tenancy for a minimum period of 12 months.

For more information; New scheme to help those threatened with eviction from privately rented homes – Cornwall Council

A note from SWLA – most Local Authorities have access to funding to rescue tenancies and prevent homelessness.

If you are evicting your tenant due to rent arrears, contact the tenant’s Local Authority and query if the tenancy can be saved. The tenant can also contact their Local Authority, Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Do I need to file a Self Assessment tax return and what if I’ve received a COVID-19 grant?

Posted on December 16th, 2021 -

Article by GoSimpleTax

More than 12m people file a Self Assessment tax return each year, which is almost a fifth of the UK population. They include sole-trader bricklayers, plumbers and plasterers, as well as hairdressers, cake makers and chefs, and self-employed tutors, translators and tattoo artists. People of all occupations, trades and backgrounds work for themselves.

Sole traders are key to the UK economy. They’re the unsung heroes who make up about 59% (3.5m) of the total UK business population of 5.9m and they of course include many freelancers, contractors and agency workers.  

Many other people also need to fill out and file a Self Assessment tax return to report taxable income and in recent years, many UK sole traders have received taxable COVID-19 grants and support payments from government and other sources that must also be reported via Self Assessment. This guide provides an overview of who must sign up to Self Assessment and how they should report COVID-19 grants and support payments.

Here’s what we’ll cover

  • Who must file a Self Assessment tax return?
  • How to register for Self Assessment.
  • How to report taxable COVID-19 grants and support payments.
  • Sources of advice and support.

Who must file a Self Assessment tax return?

Self Assessment is the system the UK tax authority HMRC uses to collect Income Tax. You need to register for Self Assessment and file an SA100 tax return if you:

  • have earned more than £2,500 from renting out property
  • or your partner have received Child Benefit and either of you has an annual income of more than £50,000
  • have received more than £2,500 in other untaxed income (eg tips or commission)
  • are self-employed (ie a sole trader) with an annual turnover of more than £1,000
  • are a partner in an ordinary business partnership
  • are an employee claiming expenses worth more than £2,500 a year
  • have earned taxable income from savings, investments or dividends
  • have earned income from abroad that is subject to UK tax (eg renting out a property overseas while domicile in the UK).

• If you’re still not sure, HMRC provides an online tool that you can use to check whether you need to file a Self Assessment tax return.

Need to know!

  • If you need to file a Self Assessment tax return, you do so after the relevant tax year ends on 5 April and you have until the following 31 January to file it online (although it’s best to do it sooner). First you must register for Self Assessment.

How to register for Self Assessment

It’s simple and relatively quick to register online for Self Assessment. When registering you’ll need to give your:

  • National Insurance number
  • full name (and any previous names)
  • current address (and when you moved in)
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • phone number
  • email address and
  • whether you’ve registered previously for Self Assessment.

You’ll also be asked for basic information about your new sole trader business, if that what you’re doing. After you’ve completed the questions, HMRC will create an account for you. You’ll then receive a letter with your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number within 10 days (21 if you’re based overseas). You’ll need your UTR to file your Self Assessment tax return. You’ll also then receive another letter with an account activation code. Once activated, you can file your tax return online at any time before the deadline.

Need to know!

Reporting COVID-19 grants and support payments

To help some self-employed people to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic when they couldn’t work, the government introduced a range of business-support measures, including SEISS (the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme), which began in May 2020. Five rounds of SEISS grants were awarded and the application deadline date for the last one was 30 September 2021.

Other COVID-19 grants and support payments included:

As a sole trader or member of an ordinary business partnership, you may have received COVID-19 grant funding and/or support payments, which you now need to tell HMRC about if it is taxable. Thankfully, it’s straightforward.

  • Detail any SEISS payments received in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant box on your Self Assessment tax return (SA100).
  • Record all other taxable COVID-19 payments in the box for any other business income.

If you’re self-employed, HMRC has published guidance on reporting COVID-19 grants and support payments (choose from short or full notes). Short and full guidance is also available online for members of ordinary partnerships who need to report COVID-19 grants and support payments via Self Assessment.

Sources of support

About GoSimpleTax

Income, expenses and tax submission all in one.

GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.

The software submits directly to HMRC and is the solution for the self-employed, sole traders and anyone with income outside of PAYE to file their self-assessment giving hints and tips on savings along the way.

GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you saving you ££’s on an accountant. Available on desktop or mobile application.

Bank of England Raises Interest Rates to 0.25%

Posted on December 16th, 2021 -

The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the first time in more than three years, in response to calls to tackle surging inflation.

The Monetary Policy Committee voted 8-1 in favour of the increase to 0.25%.

Rates were cut to a record low of 0.1% in March last year in response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The increase came despite fears that the Omicron variant of Covid could slow the UK economy by causing people to spend less.

The Bank said global asset prices had initially fallen in response to news of the new variant, but had since largely recovered.

The committee also voted unanimously to maintain the Bank’s asset purchase scheme at £875bn.

The last time the Bank raised interest rates was in August 2018, when they reached 0.75%.

They were then cut twice in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Figures issued on Thursday showed the cost of living surged by 5.1% in the 12 months to November, up from 4.2% the month before, and its highest level since September 2011.

Article from BBC News

Law Student, 19, Sues Landlord and Wins First Case

Posted on December 16th, 2021 -

Article from BBC News; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-59649129

Ever booked accommodation and turned up to find it’s not exactly what you were sold in the pictures?

Well, that’s just what happened with Jack Simm’s university accommodation, which he described as being like a “building site”.

So, he decided to do what any self-respecting law student would do and took his landlord to court – winning his first ever case with the help of his textbooks.

The 19-year-old was in his first year at the University of East Anglia in September 2020 when he moved into the Velocity Student accommodation in Norwich.

But because he got his university place through clearing he didn’t get a chance to view it beforehand.

“I thought I was going to get what I’d seen on these photos,” he says. “These nice, upmarket student accommodation rooms.”

But when he turned up, it was a different story.

“It was a building site,” he says of the property which was developed by The Freedman Project LLP and managed by Estateducation.

“There were skips everywhere, tradesmen everywhere, hammering the ceiling, hammering the walls. The place was covered in dust from sanding.

“It was almost ironic and funny that people were moving into this place because it looked awful. It was just a bit of a dire state really.”

After a week Jack moved out and stopped paying his rent. Despite being threatened with recovery action by a debt collector, he turned to his textbooks and started building his case.

‘Young people need to back themselves’

He collected witness statements, put together the case law and statute law surrounding contract representation, and sued for breach of contract and misrepresentation.

“It was quite easy to be honest,” says Jack, who is originally from Newcastle.

“I studied contract law at the time. To me it was quite an easy case of opening my contract law textbook and looking through some of the relevant law and applied it to the situation.”

He adds: “We sued for our money back our deposit our first month’s rent. They sued for the entire tenancy agreement – around £7,000.”

At an online hearing at Newcastle County Court on 2 November, his dad spoke for him in court, and Jack won what he had paid them plus court fees, totalling £999. The counterclaim was dismissed.

He said it was “great winning” and “really just instilled in me that young people need to back themselves”.

“You just can’t let these landlords win,” he added. “[You’ve] got to take them to court if this happens. Change will happen. The culture needs to change.”

Estateducation declined to comment when approached by the BBC.

CORONAVIRUS – OMICRON – Ventilation Advice for Landlords & Tenants

Posted on December 16th, 2021 -

Please see the following advice and information to share with your tenants, especially those in shared houses.

  • COVID-19 is spread easily within the air. Opening windows to let fresh air in can remove any lingering coronavirus particles.
  • Even opening the windows for short periods of time will allow fresh air to circulate and will reduce the risk of COVID-19.
  • If you let fresh air in when you are inside you can reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 by 70%.

The following letter from the Housing Minister is addressed to all landlords, please read to keep you and your tenants informed and updated on ways to keep as safe as possible from catching and spreading COVID-19.

Bailiff-Enforced Evictions Suspended over the Festive Season

Posted on December 3rd, 2021 -

Tenants facing eviction in England are to be protected from losing their homes during the Christmas and New Year period, HM Courts and Tribunal has confirmed.

Between 13 December 2021 and 10 January 2022 no evictions should be scheduled by a bailiff or executed by a bailiff, although if landlords have an urgent eviction they need to book-in following the court process ‘around these times’ then they can alert the bailiff manager of the court in question.

The precise dates around the UK appear to vary slightly.

This is similar to last year, when bailiffs were asked that they should not enforce other than in the ‘most serious circumstances’.

The festive amnesty occurs every year but was controversial last year because it came at the end of an extended blanket ban on bailiff evictions brought in during the worst months of the pandemic. Also, at the time Boris Johnson suggested that it should be extended.

This year’s announcement in England has been rolled out informally through the courts, although officially the normal procedure is for the Lord Chancellor to inform the High Court Enforcements Officers Association which then informs its members.

Article abridged from LandlordZone

£65 Million Support Package for Vulnerable Renters

Posted on December 3rd, 2021 -


Vulnerable renters struggling due to the impact of the pandemic will be helped by a £65 million support package announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The funding has been given to councils in England to support low-income earners in rent arrears – helping to prevent homelessness and support families get back on their feet.

Renters across the country have been protected throughout the pandemic because of government action, including a ban on evictions and a £400 billion support package for the economy.

The extra funding comes on top of the £500 million Household Support Fund, which was announced by the government in September 2021 which is helping vulnerable households across the country with the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP said:

‘We have taken action throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable families, and it is vital we continue to provide support as we enter the winter months. This new funding will support families that are struggling and help to get them back on their feet as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The £65 million will be available through the winter months and households at risk of eviction or homelessness should contact their local council if they require support. The fund recognises the impact the pandemic has had on households in the private rented sector with the lowest income. The government has already provided £310 million to councils this year through the Homelessness Prevention Grant and this funding will increase that grant by a further £65 million this year. £140 million is also available through Discretionary Housing Payments, which can also be used to prevent evictions and help people find a new home. The £500 million Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million. The funding is primarily being used to support households with the cost of essentials, although councils have flexibility to best address local needs. At least 50% of the funding is reserved for households with children. It is for councils to determine the best way to support each household on a case-by-case basis. Any payment is likely to be paid directly to the existing landlord, or a new landlord if the money is being used to support a household to find a new home. The government is grateful to landlords for their support and the funding will mean more of them will be able to reach agreements with existing tenants.

For more information, see the gov.uk website or contact your Local Authority

Government Confirms an Extension to the Regulations for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Posted on December 3rd, 2021 -


The government intends to bring forward these changes as soon as practicable:

  • social landlords will be obliged to ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of their homes
  • both social and private landlords will be obliged to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in their homes with a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers)
  • in any home, when a new fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers) is installed, a carbon monoxide alarm will be required by law to be installed
  • landlords will be legally obliged to repair or replace alarms once informed that they are faulty (testing will remain the resident’s responsibility)

As soon as parliamentary time allows, the government will amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. The regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure and will need to be approved in both Houses of Parliament before they can be made. They will also amend the statutory guidance (Approved Document J) supporting Part J of the Building Regulations. They intend the new requirements to come into force as soon as practicable after the regulations are made. To avoid any confusion, both sets of requirements will come into effect at the same time.

The other recommendations in the consultation paper were concerned with updating the guidance documents on the placement of alarms and type of alarms to use. There was a high level of support in consultation responses for all these measures. They will update the government guidance documents to this effect and the refreshed documents will be published alongside the new legislation.

Article by gov.uk

Updated Guidance for Landlords to Help Mitigate the Risk of Infection from Covid-19 (Updated to reflect new rules in response to Omicron variant)

Posted on December 2nd, 2021 -


The housing market can remain open. All planned moves and viewings can continue and tradespeople can continue to work in other people’s homes, unless self-isolation restricts access to a property. Everyone involved in the process of letting out a property (letting agents, landlords, prospective tenants) is advised to keep up good hygiene practices, with hand washing and sanitising.

Letting agents and landlords are encouraged to follow the ‘working safely during coronavirus guidance;


When in the office, letting agents are required to wear masks. There are no limits on the number of people that can view a property, but virtual viewings are recommended before progressing to an in-person viewing if required, where masks should be encouraged. Thorough cleaning of properties and showing a property when vacant where possible are also advised, to reduce the risk of infection.

Flexibility is encouraged around anyone who may need to self-isolate.

To view the latest COVID rules, please see;


Updates to the gov.uk ‘Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants’

Posted on December 1st, 2021 -

On 30th November 2021 the guidance was updated to reflect changes to the court process for possession introduced by the judiciary relating to COVID-19 case marking, review appointments and priority cases.

We recommend that any landlord who is serving notice to their tenant and applying to court for possession, read the guidance in full and carry out all actions listed in the guidance.

Understanding the possession action process: A guide for private landlords in England and Wales – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For landlords who complete their own tax returns – do you have your UTR Number ready to file your Self Assessment?

Posted on November 26th, 2021 -

Article by GoSimpleTax

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a ten-digit code required by all sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies in the UK. It’s unique to that individual or organisation and remains unchanged forever.

You will also need a UTR if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self Assessment tax return.

If you don’t have a UTR, you won’t be able to submit a Self Assessment tax return, therefore running the risk of upsetting HMRC. Plus, you may open yourself up to heavy penalties.

So, to help reiterate the importance of UTR numbers and how to correctly acquire your own, we’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to shed some light on their role in tax return submissions.

What is a UTR?

A UTR helps HMRC identify and process tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records providing them with a way to match records to payments. They can also use it to monitor for suspicious activity.

The UTR will be needed to complete a Self Assessment tax return, to pre-pay taxes in instalments and to work with an accountant.

Who uses them?

Any individual with self-employed income or income from rental property probably forms the biggest group that will need a UTR.

These individuals will need to perform a Self Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.

How can I get one?

As you won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self-employed or a new business, you’ll need to do so on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no cost to doing either.

Be careful if you have already started trading. HMRC expects you to register within at least three months of the end of your first month in business. They will consider strict penalties if you fail to do so.

To avoid such fines, register as soon as you can with all the below information to hand:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • National Insurance number
  • The date you started self-employment

Double-check that you have fully completed the process if you’re still waiting on your UTR following registration.

What if I’m already registered?

If you have previously registered or submitted a tax return you could find your UTR easily on numerous documents from HMRC, such as

Previous tax returns, payment reminders, notice to file tax returns, statements of account, the ‘welcome to Self Assessment’ letter SA250 or even stored in software should you use it to file your return.

In addition, your HMRC online account will also display the code, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self Assessment helpline.

About GoSimpleTax

Income, Expenses and tax submission all in one. GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.

Our software submits directly to HMRC and is the digital solution for Landlords to record income, expenses and file their self-assessment giving hints on savings along the way. Covering all self-assessment pages, not just property, GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you saving you ££’s on accountancy fees.

Available on desktop or mobile application.

Renters Reform Bill – White Paper Delayed until 2022

Posted on November 18th, 2021 -

The White Paper on the Renters’ Reform Bill, (to include proposals for improving Section 8 & abolishing Section 21) has been delayed for release until 2022. It was due for release in Autumn 2021.

As advised in the Queens speech, the Bill intends to “enhance the rights of those who rent”.

In a letter to contributors to the White Paper, the government said the delay would “not only allow us to benefit from continued work with the sector but will also allow us to carefully consider the findings of the National Audit Office’s review of regulation of the sector which is due to report in the coming months”. The government is also actively engaging with tenants – along with other stakeholders – to learn more about their experiences in the private rented sector.

The speech’s briefing notes set out what letting agents and landlords can expect from the reform package and include:

Abolishing Section 21 (known as ‘no fault’ evictions) thus improving security for tenants in the private rented sector, as well as strengthening repossession grounds for landlords under Section 8 when they have valid cause.

Outlining proposals for a new ‘lifetime’ tenancy deposit model that eases the burden on tenants when moving from one tenancy to the next, helping improve the experience of those living in the private rental sector.

Bringing forward reforms to drive improvements in standards in rented accommodation, including by ensuring all tenants have a right to redress, and ensuring well targeted, effective enforcement that drives out criminal landlords, for example exploring the merits of a landlord register and requiring all private landlords to belong to a redress scheme.

Considering further reforms of the private renter sector enforcement system so it is well targeted, effective and supports improvements in property conditions, including a set of measures to hold “bad landlords” to account for delivering safe and decent housing to tenants without penalising good landlords.

Exploring improvements and possible efficiencies to the possession process in the courts, to make it quicker and easier for both landlords and tenants to use.

The proposed legislation would only apply in England.

Article abridged from Goodlord

Tradepoint Black Friday Deals 19th November – 29 November 2021

Posted on November 18th, 2021 -

**SWLA Tradepoint members will get an extra 10% off these deals**

Free Webinar for Landlords & Agents

Posted on November 17th, 2021 -

When – Wednesday 1st December 2021 10am

Where – Online

By – Goodlord (please note – this is not an SWLA webinar)

Subject –

• The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA)
• Renters’ Reform Bill
• Live Q&A with Robert Bolwell (Senior Partner at Dutton Gregory)

If you would like to attend, register here; Lettings legislation in 2022: Looking ahead with Robert Bolwell (goodlord.co)

Reminder – Free Webinar for Landlords and Agents

Posted on November 17th, 2021 -

Wednesday 17th November 2021 at 11am

Ashley Taylor Solicitors will be reviewing the year, to register, click here;


”A look back at all the subjects we’ve covered this year on our Webinars for Managing Agents and Landlords, a brief reminders of pitfalls and danger signs, rules, regulations and ways to avoid or minimise defences and keep the waters calmer!”

Landlords with tenants with complex needs; training & information

Posted on November 12th, 2021 -

Information from PATH (Plymouth Access to Housing)-

https://frontlinenetwork.org.uk/ –  click the log in button in top right hand corner of the page, then click ‘join the frontline network’ . This is a regular newsletter which includes the kind of training that workers in services like PATH do. Including around understanding trauma.

https://www.livewellswacademy.co.uk/courses/ – various training including conflict resolution and mental health awareness. Many courses have a cost involved.

Useful information for landlords: https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/information/how-can-you-support-your-tenants-mental-wellbeing-as-well-as-your-own/

Useful information for tenants: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/housing/your-housing-rights/

PATH recently did a short survey with landlords and agents who regularly take people from PATH as tenants. They have had feedback that landlords and agents might like training around dealing with tenants (including in shared houses) who have poor mental health.

Poor mental health usually has its roots in trauma. The Trauma Informed Plymouth Network would be happy to offer a free 60 minute Introduction to Trauma course which would cover themes like:

What is trauma

How common is trauma

Signs and symptoms of trauma for individuals and communities

Stress responses to trauma – seeing behaviour as communication

Why an understanding of trauma is important  

Responding to trauma with a trauma-informed approach

Please contact Vicky Brooks at vicky.brooks@NSPCC.org.uk if you would be interested in booking a place

Which allowable expenses do buy-to-let landlords fail to claim?

Posted on November 10th, 2021 -

Article by GoSimpleTax

There are about 2.66m private landlords in the UK and you could be one of them. Although renting out property can offer excellent returns, it involves a wide variety of expenses, big and small.

Thankfully, as you know, many costs can be claimed as “allowable expenses”, which buy-to-let landlords can deduct from their profits, to help minimise their Income Tax bill. But many buy-to-let landlords fail to claim some allowable expenses, which can leave them overpaying hundreds if not thousands of pounds each year in Income Tax.

This guide provides a basic overview of allowable expenses that you, as a landlord can claim, as well as ones that they may not be claiming.

Here’s what we’ll cover;

• Why buy-to-let landlords often fail to claim some allowable expenses.
• Allowable expenses that HMRC allows landlords to claim.
• Allowable expenses that buy-to-let landlords often fail to claim.
• How property maintenance, repairs and improvements are considered.
• Things that buy-to-let landlords cannot claim as an allowable expense.

Why do buy-to-let landlords fail to claim allowable expenses?

A big reason why some buy-to-let landlords’ allowable expense claim is lower than it could be is poor expense management. Obviously, this commonly includes losing receipts for purchases for which they could otherwise claim. Other buy-to-let landlords deem a cost so insignificant that they don’t think it worth the time or effort to record. But such costs can mount up over the year, so, where allowable, they should claim them all.

Lack of knowledge is the other key reason why some buy-to-let landlords fail to claim their full allowable expenses. They simply don’t know that certain expenses are allowable for tax purposes. In some instances, they might suspect that they can claim, but don’t, because they fear breaking the rules and getting into trouble with HMRC.

Some simple desk-based research can enable landlords to quickly find out which outgoings they can claim as an allowable expense. Some online sources of information are less accessible and reliable than others, which is why advice from a trusted tax professional can make a big difference.

What are “allowable expenses”?

For an expense to be allowable for tax purposes, as you know, it must be generated “wholly and exclusively” for the purpose of trade (in this case, renting out property). So, for example, a landlord cannot claim as an allowable expense a vacuum cleaner that they also use for cleaning their own home.

If they use something for business and personal reasons (eg their mobile phone), they can only claim allowable expenses for the proportion that results from renting out their property.

Some allowable expenses are more obvious than others. For example, a buy-to-let landlord may well know that they can claim for Council Tax, water rates, gas and electricity, if they pay these for the rented property (otherwise the tenant pays them, obviously).

They can also claim as an allowable expense ground rents and service charges, as well letting agent fees and management fees. Landlords’ insurance policies for buildings, contents and public liability can also be claimed as an allowable expense.

Need to know! The introduction of “Section 24” in 2017 removed a landlord’s previous right to deduct mortgage interest and other finance costs (eg mortgage arrangement fees) from their rental income before calculating their tax liability. Instead, landlords now get a tax credit of 20%.

Allowable expenses: what might landlords not be claiming for?

To maintain their property, a landlord may do some gardening, DIY or end-of-tenancy cleaning to save money, rather than paying someone else to do it. However, they can claim such services as an allowable expense, which could save them the trouble.

Landlords can also claim for some legal fees (eg for advice about pursuing a tenant for unpaid rent) and rather than doing their own bookkeeping or tax returns, they could hire an accountant and claim their fees as an allowable expense.

A landlord may be using their own landline or mobile phone for making calls that result from renting out their property. This proportion of their total bill can obviously be claimed as an allowable expense, and the same applies to vehicle mileage costs (eg if they need to travel to their rental property or make any other related journeys).

Some landlords may not realise that they can claim for advertising their property to attract new tenants, or that even relatively small costs, for example, stationery, can be claimed as an allowable expense. They may even be able to claim for costs incurred to dispose of old items of furniture or electrical appliances.

What about property maintenance, repairs and improvements?

Costs landlords pay out to maintain and repair a rental property to ensure that it retains its condition can be claimed as an allowable expense. Common examples include redecorating a property between tenants, fixing a broken window or mending a garden fence. If a landlord claims on their insurance to cover a repair, obviously, they cannot also claim it as an allowable expense. The same is true if their tenant pays for damage out of their deposit.

Replacing baths, washbasins and toilets is allowable, because they’re classed as building repairs, but only if the landlord replaces like for like (ie the quality isn’t superior).

Landlords cannot claim “capital improvements” as an allowable expense. Making capital improvements means upgrading, adapting or enhancing a property so that its value increases, which often involves making a structural change, for example, building an extension or converting a loft.

Need to know! Capital expenses aren’t allowable, so landlords can’t claim for them against their rental income, but they may be able to set them against Capital Gains Tax if they sell the property later on.

What can’t buy-to-let landlords claim for?

As explained on government website GOV.uk: “[Landlords] cannot claim the costs for replacing furnishings or equipment in a [rental] property. These are not allowable as costs of maintenance and repairs, but from 6 April 2016 they may qualify for Replacement Domestic Items relief.”

So, if the property is furnished or part-furnished, a landlord may be able to claim tax relief for replacing such things as sofas, beds, carpets, curtains, fridges, washing machines, sofas, crockery, cutlery, etc, as long as the quality is comparable – not superior.

Buy-to-let landlords cannot claim installing a security alarm system as an allowable expense unless they’re replacing one of a similar standard that was already there. If they’re in any doubt about what they as a buy-to-let landlord can and cannot claim as an allowable expense, you can add much value to the relationship by providing them with sound advice.

About GoSimpleTax
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Your Property is at Risk from Fraud!

Posted on November 5th, 2021 -

‘Property Alert’ is an award winning free property monitoring service aimed at anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud.

Once you have signed up to the service, you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, allowing you to take action if necessary.


Luton man left shocked as his house is ‘stolen’

Article from the BBC; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-59069662

A man has described his shock at returning to his house and finding it stripped of all furnishings after it was sold without his knowledge. Having been alerted by neighbours, the Reverend Mike Hall drove to Luton and found building work under way and a new owner who said he had bought the house.

A BBC investigation found Mr Hall’s identity had been stolen and used to sell the house and bank the proceeds. Police initially told him it was not fraud but are now investigating.

Mr Hall, who was away from the property and working in north Wales, said he received a call from his neighbours on 20 August, saying that someone was in the house and all the lights were on. The following morning, he drove there.

“I went to the front door, tried my key in the front door, it didn’t work and a man opened the front door to me,” he told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours.

“I pushed him to one side and got in the property. I really didn’t know what he was doing there.

“The shock of seeing the house completely stripped of furniture; all furnishings, carpet, curtains – everything – was out of the property.”

The man said he was doing building work, to which Mr Hall replied: “I haven’t sold the house. This is still my property.”

Mr Hall phoned the police, but the builder left and returned with the new owner’s father, who said he had bought the terraced house in July, adding: “It is now my property. You are now trespassing. Get out.”

Mr Hall said: “We then tried to access the Land Registry documentation online to find out whose name appeared… and it is, in fact, as of 4 August, this man’s name.

“At that point the police said, ‘Well, there’s nothing further we can do here. This is a civil matter; you need to leave the house and contact your solicitors.'”

He then tried to contact police online, but received the same response.

“I was shocked – having seen the house in the state it was, I was in a bit of a state of shock anyway – but then to be told by the police they didn’t believe a criminal offence had been committed here was just unbelievable,” he said.

The BBC put Mr Hall in touch with Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad, which has begun an investigation. A spokeswoman said there had been no arrests.

You and Yours obtained the driving licence used to impersonate Mr Hall, details of a bank account set up in his name to receive the proceeds of the sale, and phone recordings of the house being stolen.

Once the house was sold to the new owner for £131,000 by the person impersonating Mr Hall, they legally owned it.

The solicitors involved in the property transaction said there was an ongoing police investigation and that it was inappropriate to comment further.

The Land Registry paid out a total of £3.5m in compensation for fraud last year. It said: “We work with professional conveyancers, such as solicitors, and rely on them and the checks that they make to spot fraudulent attempts to impersonate property owners. “Despite our efforts, every year we do register a very small number of fraudulent transactions.”