We had a meeting in our Office today, with Andy Richens, and Nigel Mellor both Policy Advisors from the “Office of Tax Simplification”.
In attendance were Iain Maitland (Vice Chairman), Steve Lees (Chairman) and Katarina Swain (Treasurer). They came to discuss and obtain our viewpoint on simplifying Tax payments for the self-employed and landlords. We will update you as we receive more information on this subject in due course.
Just a little reminder, when giving out a copy of the “How To Rent Guide” to your tenants at the start of their tenancy, please always search the Gov.uk website for How to Rent Guide to ensure you give the most up to date version possible to your tenants.
Thank you to everyone who attended our open office get together! It was great to catch up and enjoy a cream tea.
Next date for your diaries; Wednesday 16th October 2019, SWLA General Meeting at Future Inn, Plymouth. Three speakers to keep our members up to date on numerous landlord matters.
Making Tax Digital (MTD) – Mandatory digital record keeping for VAT for businesses over the VAT threshold (with turnover over £85,000) came into force from 1 April 2019. This was an important first step in the modernisation of the tax system to which the government remains committed.
The government have confirmed a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation. Where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued. The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.
Information above taken from the ‘Spring Statement 2019: Written Ministerial Statement’. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/785618/WMS_final_Commons.pdf
For further information, see the gov.uk website; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital/overview-of-making-tax-digital
The Ministry of Housing and Local Communities have updated the ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide.
Landlords and Agents must provide tenants with the latest copy of the guide at the beginning of a tenancy. Landlords are not required to supply a further copy of the publication each time a different version is published during the tenancy.
Print the guide straight from the gov.uk website to ensure that you are providing the latest version to your tenant.
In relation to the Housing Act 1988, Section 21; the Form 6a is also expected to be updated.
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has arrived (01 June 2019). SWLA landlord stationery and documents have been updated accordingly. You can print documents straight from the SWLA website ‘members area’ to ensure that you are using the most up to date version.
The ban applies to assured shorthold tenancies (except social housing or long leases), tenancies of student accommodation and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector in England. Most tenancies in the private rented sector are assured shorthold tenancies.
You cannot require a tenant (or anyone acting on their behalf or guaranteeing their rent) to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy. You cannot require them to enter a contract with a third party or make a loan in connection with a tenancy.
From 1 June 2019, if you enter into a tenancy agreement, student let or licence to occupy housing in the private rented sector, you will be prohibited from charging any fees or other payments that are not included in the list of permitted payments.
Where a tenancy agreement was entered into before 1 June 2019, you will still be able to charge fees until 31 May 2020, but only where these are required under an existing tenancy agreement. After 1 June 2020, the term requiring that payment will no longer be binding. Should you, in error, ask a tenant to make such a payment, you should return the payment immediately and must return this within 28 days. If you do not return the payment within 28 days, you will be treated for the purposes of the Act as having required the tenant to make a prohibited payment (a payment that is outlawed under the ban). You do not need to return any amount of tenancy deposit that is over the cap for tenancy agreements that were entered into before the Tenant Fees Act came into force.
From 1 June 2020, the ban on fees will apply to all applicable tenancies. You will not be able to charge any fees after this date unless they are a permitted payment.
If the fee you are charging is not on this list, it is a prohibited payment and you should not charge it. A prohibited payment is a payment outlawed under the ban.
The only payments you can charge in connection with a tenancy are:
a) the rent
b) a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
c) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent
d) payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
e) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
f) payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
g) A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement
More information/guidance for landlords on the Tenant Fee Ban can be found on the gov.uk website;
The Home Office have released Brexit Guidance on Right to Rent.
Until 1 January 2021 EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to prove their right to rent in the UK as they do now, for example by showing their passport or national identity card.
There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to rent until 1 January 2021. This remains the same if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Landlords do not need to check if new EEA and Swiss tenants arrived before or after the UK left the EU, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or European temporary leave to remain.
Landlords will not need to retrospectively check the status of EU, EEA or Swiss tenants or their family members who entered into a tenancy agreement before 1 January 2021.
Irish citizens will continue to have the right to rent in the UK and prove their right to rent as they do now, for example using their passport.
Landlords should continue to conduct right to rent checks on all prospective tenants to comply with the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and the code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination.
As is currently the case, in order for a landlord to obtain a statutory excuse from a civil penalty when letting to the non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, the prospective tenant will need to show Home Office issued documentation as set out in the legislation and guidance.
New guidance on how to carry out right to rent checks from 1 January 2021 will be issued at a later date.
For more information see the gov.uk guidance; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/right-to-rent-checks-for-eu-eea-and-swiss-citizens-after-brexit
Whether you are a seasoned landlord, or a first time buyer, this event offers free advice on all aspects of letting property. SWLA will have a stand at the event, come along and see us if you are there!
Thursday 23 May 2019, 4.30pm to 8.30pm
Old Forde House, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4XX – Free parking
For further information and to book your ticket;
Wednesday 23rd January 2019-
Future Inn Plymouth-
The SWLA office will be closed from 3pm Friday 21st December 2018 and will re-open at 10am on Wednesday 2nd January 2019.
Emails and telephone messages will be checked and responded to in that period.
We wish all of our members a very lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.
On Friday 16th November, Gillian Kerr (Office Manager) and Iain Maitland (Vice Chair of SWLA) attended a Teignbridge District Council Stakeholders Event in Kennford.
Housing progress and plans for 2018/19 were discussed and many ideas were shared.
Wednesday 12th December 3pm – 6pm
Come and join SWLA staff, committee and members for a mince pie and a drink. All members welcome.
To view, please click the following link; Plymouth student guide interactive
SWLA’s Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will apply from 25th May 2018
GDPR will form the new standard by which landlords and agents deal with personal information from their tenants, prospective tenants, residents and guarantors and any others from whom they collect information. It replaces the Data Protection Act and introduces significant changes to the way you should process personal information.
1. If you haven’t done so already, register with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). It costs £40.00 per year for most landlords.
2. Use the ICO’s ‘12 step process’ to review your business and make adjustments to comply with GDPR;
3. You as a landlord are the ‘Data Controller’. Operations which are subject to GDPR are called ‘Data Processing’ and includes collecting data, storing data, altering data, sharing data and destroying/deleting data. Part of the ‘12 step process’ is to review and audit all the information that you receive and record what you do with it.
4. Another important part of the ’12 step process’ is to issue all new/existing tenants/residents, guarantors and prospective tenants with an updated privacy notice.
On Thursday 22nd March, SWLA held a meeting at our Dale Road office with Councillor Ricketts (Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery) and Matt Garrett (Head of Community Connections PCC). Items on the agenda included Universal Credit, HMO regulations, Homes (Fitness for Habitation) and Banning Orders.
Iain Maitland (SWLA Chair) and Steve Lees (SWLA Vice Chair) attended the Cornwall Housing Summit ‘Home Truths’ on Friday 23rd March hosted by the National Housing Federation. Many housing topics were discussed including social housing for Cornwall and new affordable housing projects in Cornwall.
THURSDAY 26th APRIL 2018- 7pm for 7.30pm start, Future Inn Plymouth PL6 5ZD.
Krissy Salmon (Shawbrook Bank) changes affecting professional landlords.
Annette Stone (Thomas Wescott) Update in tax legislation including Making Tax Digital.
Andrew Elvidge (PCC) Civil penalties and HMO licencing.
All members welcome, please remember to register your car at reception.
Tuesday 10th April 2018 – 9:30 – 4:30pm
Venue – The Future Inn Plymouth, 1 William Prance Road, Plymouth International Business Park, Plymouth PL6 5ZD
Price – £80 for one day course to include refreshments and light lunch.
Due to the volume and importance of the legislation and regulation coming into force, SWLA in partnership with Plymouth City Council will be hosting a full day course which will include Legal Updates for 2018. Presented by Training for Professionals.
Legal Update 2018
Data Protection (GDPR)
– When can you lawfully give tenant details to a contractor and when will you need consent after 25 May 2018?
– Understand the only basis you will be permitted to contact your database of historic landlords.
– Understand when not backing up your data could cost you up to 20 million euros or 4% of turnover.
– What information will be required in your privacy notice?
– The new legislation will restrict when you can contact your landlord despite having signed Terms of Business.
– What is your plan to ensure your contractors are GDPR compliant?
Draft Tenant Fee Ban Bill
– Do you know that under the draft proposal you can still charge tenant fees for some tenancies?
– Were you aware the draft bill includes the power to ban deposits?
– Do you understand that by taking a tenant fee or making an error with a holding deposit you could be penalised or even banned as a letting agent?
– Do you understand under what circumstances a resident landlord may still charge tenant fees?
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
– How can you delay the impact of MEES for F or G rated properties for up to 2 years?
– What actions do you need to take before 1 April 2018 concerning properties not meeting the minimum standard?
– In what circumstances can you still market an F or G rated property after April 2018?
– Understand which tenancies MEES does not apply to.
– Learn when a listed building does need an EPC.
– When does a building in a conservation area have to comply with MEES?
Other issues which have arisen over the last year:
– The new legislation will restrict when you can contact your landlord despite having signed Terms of Business.
– One simple mistake that could prevent you ever serving a section 21 notice.
– Can you identify what may be deemed as a‘Secret Profit’ and what are the consequences of not declaring them?
Compulsory Client Money Protection and Regulation of Letting & Management Agents – What we know!
Tenants’ Compensation Rights
On completion of the course you will be armed with the information required to help you and your business remain on the right side of the law.
Places secured upon receipt of payment, book your place through the office 01752 510913.
Thursday 12th April 2018 – 9:30 – 4:30pm
Venue – Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter EX1 1RQ
Price – £65 for members of SWLA, £75 for non – members for one day course.
Course covers ASTs, Deposits, Section 21s, Section 8s, HMOs, Gas and Electrical Safety, Inventories and much more.
The course will provide you with all the skills to start, manage and finish a tenancy.
Places still available. Contact the office on 01752 510913 or via the website to book your place, places secured on receipt of payment.
Over 650 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.
Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.
We are proud to announce Landlord Accreditation South West (LASW) are founder members of the West of England Rental Standard
On Wednesday 24th January, we held our Annual General Meeting at the Future Inn, Plymouth.
On completion of the agenda and formal meeting, drinks and a finger buffet were enjoyed by all members who attended. This gave us and members the opportunity to network and catch up.
Wednesday 24th January 2018-
Future Inn Plymouth-
Christmas Open Office Afternoon-
Wednesday 13th December 2017
3pm – 6pm
Come and enjoy a mince pie and a drink with committee members, office staff and other SWLA members.
SWLA General Meeting –
Wednesday 18th October 2017 at Future Inn, Plymouth –
7pm for a 7.30pm start –
Guest speakers to cover the topics of Managing Properties, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and Tax Planning, all members welcome.
On Thursday 10th August the Chairman and V/Chairman had a meeting with Joe Roberts, Private Sector Housing Manager, Economic Growth and Development, Cornwall Council at SWLA offices to discuss the private rented sector strategy in Cornwall.
The Think CO workshop was attended by Chairman and V/Chairman, it was a Gas Safe Charity presentation raising the awareness of symptoms and actions to be taken. Further details can be obtained from the office if required.