With a raft of new regulations coming into force in the UK, buy-to-let investors need to remain alert to their changing responsibilities, along with emerging opportunities.
Here are four areas to consider:
- Changes to the tax regime
Buy-to-let mortgage interest deductions are being phased out, to be replaced by basic rate – 20 per cent – tax relief on interest payments. Landlords in higher tax brackets may pay more tax than before.
These changes have come in gradually since 2017 and could have a major influence on buy-to-let investors’ profits. “This will be the biggest [change] to factor in when doing your investment sums,” said property expert Jo Eccles. “Navigating changes like these is particularly important in a softer market.”
- Tenant Fee Changes
On 1 June this year, the government plans to abolish most upfront fees for tenants, including letting agent and administrative fees, together with a cap on security deposits. In response, agents may increase their management fees to replace lost income.
“The lettings fee ban is just part of the ever-changing and increasingly regulated landscape which landlords need to make sure they are keeping up with,” said Eccles.
- House in Multiple Occupation rules
If there are five or more people in a property, forming two or more households, HMO licences have applied since October 2018. These also cover minimum room sizes. Experts advise checking with your local authority whether your property comes under these regulations.
- Energy efficiency
From 2020, minimum energy efficiency standards will apply to existing tenancies on domestic properties, obliging landlords to ensure properties meet an E rating or above. “Reinvesting in your property to make sure it meets the standards – and looks better – can go a long way to attracting long-lasting tenants,” said Jo Eccles.