If you had to sum up 2020 in one word (without using “unprecedented” because it has been overused) what would it be?
Weird? Abnormal? Or what about unheard-of? Okay, maybe that is two words, but you catch our drift.
Whatever adjective you choose, it is a safe bet that you will not forget the first six months of 2020 in a hurry.
But as things slowly edge towards getting back to normal, it is worth taking a moment to look beyond the pandemic.
As we gear up for the second half of the year, there are other issues specific to landlords that are also important to consider.
It is vital you stay on top of any new rules or regulations that might have come into place over the past few months – or indeed may be on the horizon.
The situation with Covid-19 understandably absorbed most of our attention, but in the background, lots of other things have been going on.
Make sure any important legal changes do not slip under your radar.
Breach the law and the excuse “I was busy watching the daily press briefing” will not cut it.
In England and Wales, for example, check up on the changes to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) that were introduced in April. The MEES now applies to all private lets meaning that if your property has an energy rating of F or G you cannot rent it out (the fine for doing so could reach £4,000).
If you want to feel reassured that you have got a handle on all your legal requirements, get in touch with us. It is our job to know when new guidance is published and when laws are introduced.
A change which came into effect in April while we were all adjusting to life in lockdown relates to changes to tax relief.
These changes have been phased in over several years, but the final stage kicked in on April 6. Landlords will now receive a tax credit based on 20% of mortgage interest payments.
This is different to a few years ago when they could deduct their mortgage interest from rental income before calculating tax.
Changing tenant priorities
If you are looking to let a property in the next few months, take time to reassess its major selling points. Do you need to change your marketing strategy?
Whereas, once proximity to public transport may have been the top drawcard, now the sunny courtyard or the large living area could be the real winner.
Even though many people will be returning to offices soon, flexible working is here to stay.
Expect more people to work from home at least some of the time – hence where they live will be more important to them than ever.
So, consider how you can make your property more appealing to someone who works from home.
Are there small changes you could make inside or out that would make it more marketable?
Ask us for advice about trends in Chelmsford.
A quick note
Last week the government finally released guidance on the finer details of the Electrical Inspection Condition Reports (EICR) system, which is due to start in England and Wales next month.
This was then promptly withdrawn due to “inconsistencies”. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for a revised version of the guidance any time soon.
Here at Martin & Co, we want to help landlords get through the rest of 2020 and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
If you have any questions about the rental property market in Chelmsford, get in touch.
Thanks for reading.