It’s a confusing time to be a landlord, with new regulations on fees and licensing joining the raft of tax changes introduced over the past few years. Add to that uncertainty over Brexit and the potential for further base rate rises, and you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the amount of flux in the buy-to-let sector.
To explain what’s happening and set the changes in context, we’ve listed the 16 most important things landlords need to know in 2019. If you need to remortgage your rental property or want a new buy-to-let mortgage, call Which? Mortgage Advisers for a free consultation on 0808 256 5205. Alternatively, fill out the form at the end of the article and they’ll call you back. 1.
Letting fees ban A ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants will come into force on 1 June*. The new rules will involve deposits being capped at five weeks’ rent (or six for tenancies that cost more than £50,000 a year), and agents and landlords will be banned from charging fees for anything other than the following: contract changes or termination when requested by the tenant utilities, communications services and council tax issues for which the tenant is at fault, such as the replacement of lost keys.
While the changes are designed to crack down on agents, they’ll also have an impact on landlords, who will face the burden of paying for tenant referencing and inventories – costs that they currently pass on to tenants. The regulations will only apply in England. Letting fees are already banned in Scotland, and the Welsh government is considering a similar bill.