2016 Regulation Round Up News
University Cribs News
2016 was a busy year for the BTL industry – with many ups and downs, all the way through to the end! We have put together a guide for the changes that have happened throughout the year so you can make sure you are ticking all the boxes.
Right to rent – February 1st
The year kicked off with the controversial introduction of the Right to Rent checks. The new rules for landlords were introduced to in order to check whether potential tenants have the right to live in the UK.
Failure to carry out Right to Rent checks properly could land a landlord in hot water with fines up to £3,000 for each adult found to be renting a property to who aren’t legally allowed to live in the UK.
Buy to let mortgage rules for consumer landlords – March
As property prices crept forward, the last thing investors wanted was to hear that mortgage lending was going to get tighter. In March 2016, in line with European Mortgage Credit Directive, new rules were introduced BTL borrowers demanding stricter affordability. It is estimated that 11% of borrowing will be impacted.
Both consumer and commercial borrowers would have to undergo a series of stress tests, similar to those undertaken by someone applying for a residential mortgage. Consumer landlords must be able to show they are able to cover the mortgage costs from income or savings without any contribution from the rental income while the commercial landlords will continue with the rent cover test.
Minimum EPC ratings introduced – April 1
The shock statement in April saw the introduction of an environmental regulation, designed to prevent poorly insulated properties coming to market, resulting in costly utility bills and high carbon emissions.
The regulations which come in April 18 will force landlords to upgrade their EPC rating in order to comply with the new rules and by the time the they are fully rolled out it will be illegal to rent a property below the E rating. The estimated impact of this being 4.2 million homes in the UK.
Brexit – June 24
The big event of 2016, Brexit rocked the country with us all sat eyes pinned to the screen waiting for the final results to come in. Clearly there has been a lot of concern and commentary on how the result would impact the property market in the UK especially with BTL property portfolio owners.
Despite, initial thoughts it would seem that the effects of leaving may not be as back as originally thought and research from the National Landlords Association indicates that only 35% of landlords are concerned that Brexit will impact tenant demand in their area.
Stamp duty to be scrapped in Wales – September
The birth country of University Cribs, in the headlines again with some exciting movements regarding stamp duty in Wales. Starting in April 18, Landlords will pay the tax, upon acquiring land or property over a certain value. A similar principle operates successfully in Scotland and the move is being considered the first step towards moving power from Westminster to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.
New laws to tackle HMO overcrowding – October 19
Particularly relevant to student housing for which HMOs provide the lifeblood of the traditional 2nd and 3rd year housing options. Gavin Barwell, the new Housing minister headed straight for the issue of HMO overcrowding by releasing new legislation.
New rules enforce that landlords much impose a minimum room size of 6.52 square meters in a shared house where five or more people live.
Many other measures were included and it is recommended to ensure you comply with all aspects with strong fines of up to £30,000 possible for those that do not tick the boxes.
Rent Smart Wales Introduced – November 23
The Rent Smart Wales scheme is designed to improve the standard of rental accommodation across Wales, and it represented a major change for the Welsh private rental sector. The scheme makes it necessary for landlords and letting agents to register their properties and undergo training to obtain a licence if they wish to self-manage their rental investment.
November saw the deadline for the Welsh landlords to sign up and it is now a criminal offence to let a property in wales without the correct licenses after this date.
Tenant fee abolishment announced – November 23
The autumn statement announcement hit the headlines announcing that letting agents are no longer able to charge fees to tenants. This is likely to have significant changes with the student HMO area with firms looking to save cost.
The chancellor said “as landlords appoint letting agents, landlords should pay the fees”. He did also add that nothing would happen until a full consultation had happened.
The topic of tenant fees is expected to be a hot topic for 2017.
Criminal Offence not to carry out Right to Rent checks – December 1
Finishing the year on a similar note to how it started there were further changes to the Right to Rent legislation. Starting from the 1st of December, landlords now will be committing a criminal offence by by knowingly letting their properties to people who do not have the right to live in the UK. This offence could end with a prison sentence with these changes rather than a £3000 fine as previously introduced.
Jack Jenkins (Co-Founder)