Giving you the latest legal updates, information for landlords and general letting agency advice. we now have a blogpage: www.yorkpropertyblog.co.uk - contributions welcomed and these articles are published there in much more detail.
Clause 24- a Landlord Tax!
Although nicknamed ‘tenant tax’ this is really an unfair tax on landlords. In really simplistic layman’s terms it means not being able to deduct allowable expenses before putting forward tax returns. All small (and large) businesses are, of course, allowed to do this, so why not Landlords? Add to this the Stamp Duty on second properties and it is easy to think that the government has it in for Landlords. It is coming into force in April in the new tax year. Did you know the government take tax from the mortgage lenders already from the profits they make? Why shouldn’t landlords make a profit? IF they do, as a lot of landlords are barely breaking even currently. Landlords may not want to be landlords but have no choice due to being left a property that will not sell in the current climate. Given the shocking interest rates in the banks these days, where else would you be able to invest your hard earned money, and help out with the housing crisis and yet still be penalised? If you would like more information and see if you can help make a difference to this tax law, please see this link: https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/tenanttax/
Tenant Fee ban and what it means for Landlords
In the Autumn Statement 2016, the chancellor decided that Letting Agents should no longer be allowed to charge tenants a fee. At the moment, there is no clarification what a ‘fee’ covers, is it just for services, or does it include holding deposits, does it include items ‘sold’ to the tenant, like the inventory etc. Whilst we obviously don’t agree with a complete ban, as we feel we work very hard to make sure our tenants have the right property for them and to make sure they are correctly referenced and insured and legal (as per the governments guidelines) we can see why this has become a large issue thanks to dishonest agents across the country using it as a blank cheque to print money. Most agents have said that they will have no choice but to pass this cost on to a landlord. This, in turn, would lead most landlords to raise the rent to cover this cost, making the property possibly too high to rent to most. At Belvoir, we haven’t been charging tenants for most services that other agents do, we don’t charge either side for a renewal, or a check out, or to change an agreement, we don’t charge add on costs to maintenance, and our visits for either landlord or tenant are included in our original fees. Therefore, whilst we can’t swear our fees won’t increase anytime in the future, we certainly won’t be adding on the tenants charges to you.
Bonds- How to make it clear and easy at the end of a tenancy
Often, we speak to landlords who feel they have been let down by another agent in feeling that they weren’t awarded a fair contribution to repairs/maintenance/decoration etc. at the end of their last tenancy. We are able to make sure everything is in place at the beginning of the tenancy in order to make this a clear and easy process and for all to agree at the end. Firstly, we provide a very clear and in-depth inventory, we have it on record that the tenants agree to this condition of the property along with photographs. This is then sent to you to agree or add to if necessary. Secondly, we remind the tenant when notice is given that this inventory is the standard we expect, we offer them advice and point out areas that are often overlooked. We offer them a completely free ‘pre void’ visit if they like so we can go over the inventory together and I can point out areas I believe may cause issues. At the checkout, we provide a clear, concise report based on wear and tear allowance and length of tenancy and type of tenant. This is sent to you, the landlord, with our recommendations of compensation amount, we can even arrange to have the work done before the next tenant moves in. Once agreed with the landlord, we negotiate with the outgoing tenant. There is no need to delay the new tenant moving in, this can happen regardless, as we have full records. Once an amount is agreed on, we can then release the bond and allocate accordingly. We find this method rarely leads to disputes. BTW Cleaning is NOT a wear and tear allowance and is made clear to all.