After changes to taxation rules and energy performance standards in recent years, 2019 is looking like another year of adaptation for landlords.
Here are five things Whitegates thinks should be on your radar as we move through 2019...
1. Ban on lettings fees
This has been long mooted, but almost certainly looks set to come into force this year. As well as tenant deposits being capped at no more than six weeks' rent, lettings agents and self-managing landlords in England will be barred from charging fees.
Predominantly, the fees ban is targeted towards agents. But even if you don't self-manage as a landlord, you should be aware that costs for tenant referencing and inventories will almost certainly fall on your shoulders.
2. Tax relief on mortgage interest
Although landlords have been adapting to this huge change now for more than a year, the changes to the amount of mortgage interest deductible from a landlord's income are being phased in.
That means from the new tax year (2019/20) in April, the 50% of interest landlords can currently claim will drop to 25%.
From April 2020, all mortgage interest will be subjected to a 20% tax relief.
3. The rogue landlord database
This has been something of a damp squib since being launched last year. But it's not like the government hasn't had a lot going on, so expect it to gather pace in 2019.
Current rules mean the database is only viewable by government, but it was confirmed in October that information on rogue landlords would be made available to tenants this year.
As always, stay within the rules and off the database.
4. Client money protection
This scheme, CMP for short, comes into force in April. On the face of it, it seems like a rare piece of good news for landlords.
Essentially, it means lettings agents must register for the scheme in order to protect rent collected on behalf of landlords.
So, if the agent goes bust, the landlord's rent money is protected.
However, the Residential Landlords Association claims the amount of money paid out in such an event can be capped. We wait and see...
5. Changes to leasehold properties
Looking to expand your portfolio in 2019? Then listen in...
The government has been pledging to clamp down on poor leasehold practices now for some time and this year looks likely to be the year these claims come to fruition.
Much of the Downing Street's ire on this issue has revolved around new-build houses being sold as leasehold properties - in turn seeing homeowners forking out huge sums in ground rent and being unable to make changes to properties without additional costs.
That means a ban on new houses being sold as leasehold now looks extremely likely.
But with uncertainty surrounding existing leaseholds properties, landlords should be mindful before committing to portfolio additions.
If you have any questions on letting out your property, get in touch with your local Whitegates office today.