March 2021 Newsletter

Happily we seem to be seeing some light at the end of the COVID tunnel. In this newsletter we will try to summaries some of the developments during February and a quick recap of the changes in the budget that effect the property business.

The rate of rental growth picked up for the sixth month running according to lettings agency Hamptons. 

Across Great Britain rents rose 4.3 per cent last month, up from 4.1 per cent in December.  Rental growth in London remained positive for the fourth straight month, rising 1.0 per cent compared to January 2020. However, Hamptons says this growth masks an Inner-Outer divide with Inner London rents falling 15.9 per cent year-on-year and Outer London rents rising 6.2 per cent. 

We have seen a number of prosecutions of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents there are some examples below:

1.) - Mohammed Mehdi Ali of High Road Willesden was fined £750,000 and £30,000 costs (5 years in prison if not paid in 3 months) for over crowding H.M.O. properties.

2.) - Dexter Blackstock, a former professional footballer, has been told he has to refund £8,592.98 in housing benefit that he was paid for two unlicensed properties.

3.) - Wolverhampton council prosecuted Aunberin Saddique after it was discovered she was operating the property in the city without a licence she was found guilty and fined £6000 costs of £2341 and victim surcharge of £181.

4.) - Figures from the London Trading Standards (LTS) show rogue letting agents have been fined over £1.2m for breaking the law, either by not displaying fees and charges or for not being members of a redress scheme.

Budget Summary

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 will be extended from March 31 to June 30; from July 1st, the holiday will apply only on properties up to £250,000 until the end of September. 

It was also confirmed that there will be government-guaranteed 95 per cent mortgage loans available from next month, on the purchase of properties up to the value of £600,000.

There will be a 100% business rates holiday until the end of June; thereafter business rates will be discounted by two thirds up to a maximum of £2m for larger businesses. However, corporation tax is to rise sharply from 2023 - some details below.

There has been no announcement on Capital Gains Tax, prompting speculation this will be the subject of extensive consultation beginning on March 23 with the release of so-called 'tax day' proposals.

1.) - Furlough to be extended until the end of September, with higher employer contributions from July;

2.) - Personal income tax allowance to be frozen at £12,570 from 2022 to 2026;

3.) - Higher rate income tax threshold to be frozen at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026;

4.) - Corporation tax on company profits to soar from 19 to 25 per cent in April 2023, although some relief for smaller companies; 

Eviction Ban

The government has announced yet another ban on bailiff-enforced evictions in the private rental sector.

The existing ban was due to expire on February 21st, but now this has been put back some six weeks until March 31st .Responding to the announcement of an extension, Ben Beadle - chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association - says:

“[This] does nothing to help over 800,000 private renters who have built rent arrears since lockdown measures started last year. 

“It means debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off. It will lead eventually to them having to leave their home and face serious damage to their credit scores.

“The government needs to get a grip and do something about the debt crisis renters and landlords are now facing. A package of hardship loans and grants is needed as a matter of urgency. To expect landlords and tenants simply to muddle through without further support is a strategy that has passed its sell by date.”

1.) - Business rates holiday for firms in England will continue from April until June;

2.) - Re-opening grants for non-essential businesses of up to £6,000 for most premises, and £18,000 in exceptional circumstances.

EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report)

Currently it is a legal requirement to have a valid E.I.C.R for all new tenancies. From April the 1st 2021, this will be extended to include all tenancies. If you require assistance in organising an inspection of your property please contact Tulip and we strive to help.

Certificate of lawful use

Over 7 years have passed since the introduction of the first Article 4 planning directive with the aim of restricting the development of new HMOs. Until this date, the majority of HMOs will have been converted under planning permitted development rights, without formalising the conversions. As time passes, the sheer volume of evidence required to meet the burden of proof may be vast this makes but regularisation by Certificate of Lawful Use is becoming a valuable tool for HMO owners, especially when mortgaging a property, applying for a HMO licence or when a property is sold. It has become apparent that Hull City Council are acting on Government guidance and are not willing to licence HMO with 7+ beds for more than 6 people without planning permission. We offer the service of making Certificate of Lawful Use on behalf of clients subject to our complimentary evidential proof checks.

HMO License Application

We are busy making HMO licence application on behalf of internal and external clients. The HMO licence application service includes a property audit, report and 1-100 floor plan and the client must provide all relevant documents and certificates. Craig maintains a positive working relationship with the Environmental Health/Enforcement Officers and ex-colleagues within the department.

Reposit – Zero deposit

Tulip are now offering an alternative OPTION to the traditional deposit. The insurance policy covers more than a cash deposit with 8 weeks cover (max 5 weeks with traditional deposit) and provides a more affordable option for tenants. Faster resolution to any end of tenancy disputes, adjudication within 14 days on average weeks or longer. 

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