In recent years, landlords have been subject to an increasing number of consultations and new legislation. 2022 will be a bumper year. Here’s what English landlords can expect (other legislation may apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland):

Renters Reform Bill white paper – Spring

This bill is the most far-reaching reform of the private rented sector legislation since the Housing Act of the late 1980’s which introduced the assured shorthold tenancy used by most landlords.

The bill will include the following:

  • Scrapping of Section 21 which allows landlords to regain possession without giving a specific reason.
  • Section 8 will be expanded and the grounds strengthened to make sure landlords can still gain possession when required.
  • Review of the eviction court process. A mediation service will be introduced to help avoid going to court and other improvements will hopefully make case handling quicker and easier.
  • The introduction of a ‘lifetime’ deposit system which will allow tenants to transfer their deposit from one property to another and no longer have to fund a deposit every time they move.
  • Some form of redress scheme to improve the way landlords are held to account and the introduction of a national landlord register.

The bill has been delayed several times since its announcement in 2019 and it is expected that the white paper will eventually be published this spring.

Making Tax Digital for VAT – April

As part of the roll-out of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) service, from 1 April 2022, all VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover of less than £85,000 will be required to keep tax records and submit their VAT returns digitally.

Looking into the future, from 6 April 2024 VAT exempt individuals and businesses with rental incomes less than £10,000 will be required to operate MTD 

Extended reporting time for Capital Gains Tax – Now

For any property sold after 27 October 2021, property sellers now have 60 days to file and pay capital gains tax, rather than the previous 30 days.

New smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations – Autumn

The regulations regarding carbon monoxide alarms will soon be changing and will extend the existing requirements.

The new legislation, when introduced, will require landlords to:

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where there is a fixed combustion appliance (including a gas boiler) although gas cooker appliances are excluded.
  • Repair or replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they have been informed that they are faulty.

Currently, landlords are only required to provide carbon monoxide alarms to rooms with a solid fuel heating appliance. This includes log and coal burning stoves and open fireplaces, even if they are not normally in use.

The new regulations are expected to come into effect in the second half of the year.

See our previous carbon monoxide alarm article

Announcement on energy efficiency of rented properties

The government is expected to confirm the timetable for raising the minimum energy efficiency standard for rented property from an EPC rating of E to a C rating. It is expected new tenancies will have to conform by 2025 and existing tenancies by 2028.

The energy performance ‘high cost exemption’ is currently capped at £3,500 for landlords. However, as the higher EPC rating will require greater investment for improvements, the cap will be raised to £10,000. Estimates from independent bodies for the average investment to upgrade a non-compliant property to an EPC rating of C suggest works will cost approximately £10,000.

Right to Rent changes delayed until September

Temporary changes to Right to Rent rules, which were to end on 5th April, are to remain in place until 30th September.

The government states this most recent extension is to allow the sector further time to prepare for the digital systems being introduced for Right to Rent checks.

At the same time the delay was announced, a guide and draft code of practise  were issued by the Home Office on how to complete Right to Rent checks without discriminating against tenants.

See our previous Right to Rent new items

The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA)

In England, you do not currently have to be qualified or licensed to work as an estate agent or letting agent. In 2019 the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group, made up of industry stakeholders, made recommendations for a new regulator to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed and adheres to a strict code of practice.

The proposals in the report include:

  • A clearly outlined code of practice
  • Minimum qualifications
  • Formal licensing
  • Regulator to oversee compliance

A white paper could be published by the end of the year but may be delayed until 2023.