New legislation affecting landlords in 2020
In recent years, landlords have been hit by various regulatory and tax changes and there are five new pieces of legislation affecting them in 2020.
The Residential Landlords’ Association has published a roundup of the new laws covering the private rental sector.
A spokeswoman said: "It will be a year of change for most landlords and there is new legislation covering everything from energy efficiency to tenant fees that will come in 2020.”
Fitness for human habitation act extended
Introduced last March, the Fitness for Human Habitation Act was created to ensure that rental homes are secure for tenants and if they aren’t, tenants can take their landlord to court.
For those tenants who signed their rental agreements on are after March 20 2019, then they could use the act immediately and from March 20 2020, the rules will be extended to cover all statutory periodic tenancies.
However, the new rules only apply in England with landlords in Wales being covered by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act.
Minimum energy efficiency standards
In April, the minimum energy efficiency standards will be extended.
Since 2018, a landlord has not been allowed to let a property to a new tenant without having a minimum energy efficiency rating of E.
In 2020, all existing tenancies with an energy performance certificate of F or G will mean a landlord can no longer let them out legally.
Also, landlords will be expected to stump up £3,500 towards improving their property’s energy efficiencies.
Capital gains tax
Also in April 2020, there will be changes introduced to capital gains tax (CGT).
This tax is paid on profits that the landlord makes from the sale of a property that is not their main home.
The new changes will affect the payment timescale and also the tax relief a landlord can claim.
The other big change is that landlords will have to pay the full amount of CGT that is owed on a property sale within 30 days, rather than having until the next tax year for payment.
Another big change in April 2020 is aimed at letting agents who must become members of an officially recognised client money protection scheme.
This follows a grace period of one year that made membership of the schemes compulsory.
Tenant Fees Act extension
In June 2019, the Tenant Fees Act came into force and from June will cover all existing tenancies in England.
Under the law, letting agents and landlords cannot charge fees to a tenant, other than deposits, rent and a holding deposit.
The Residential Landlords’ Association also warns that landlords need to be wary of other potential legislation horizon with no official information implementation date yet set.
They include Section 21 changes since the Queen's Speech unveiled the abolition of Section 21 no fault evictions.
Also, electrical safety checks will be made mandatory at some point over the next year and there are plans to introduce more regulations covering the lettings industry, including a new code of practice and a new licensing regime.