The rental market has started the year strongly, with rents rising to hit a 3-month high in January, as high tenant demand and a shortage of stock continues to fuel demand for properties across England. However, January also saw a slight increase in average void periods following a particularly busy December.
Energy price cap increase to be confirmed in February
Living costs have increased significantly over the past year, with inflation up 5% over the past 12 months. Soaring energy prices have been a key contributor and they’re set to increase yet further, with the energy price cap expected to rise by as much as 51%. The energy price cap limits what energy firms in England, Scotland and Wales can charge for their default standard variable tariffs. The cap is reviewed twice a year and is based on wholesale energy prices. The increase is set to be confirmed on 7 February and will take effect from 1 April, however, Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert suggests that the increase will “likely hit pockets immediately, as even while April usage is lower, direct debits will be upped then based on annual usage.” If you’re concerned about what this could mean for you or your tenants, please get in touch.
Deadlines approaching for Making Tax Digital
Making Tax Digital aims to “eliminate common errors and save time” with a shift to fully digitised record-keeping and submission processes. From 1 April 2022, agents and landlords will need to meet new digital requirements for VAT-returns. This year, the government has waived late filing and payment penalties by a month for self-assessment tax returns, acknowledging the impact of Covid-19 on businesses – but, from 6 April 2024, this process will also fall under the new rules, requiring digital records and filing returns using relevant software. Corporation tax will then follow in the years to come.
Policy proposals for regulating short-term and holiday lets
Policy makers across England, Scotland, and Wales are proposing various ways to regulate short-term lets and holiday rentals to help solve the problem of low housing stock. In England, holiday rentals will soon need to “meet an actual letting threshold before being assessed for business rates.” It will align the criteria for English holiday rentals to access business rates with the rules in Wales, where properties need to be let for a minimum of 70 days a year and available to let for 140 days per year. Registration schemes for holiday lets are also being mooted in both England and Wales.
In Scotland, legislation has already been passed to allow “control areas” to be set up in regions where, as Social justice secretary Shona Robison explains, holiday lets are making it “harder for people to find homes to live in.” The next step, if approved, will require all local authorities to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 2022. Anyone operating a holiday or short-term let will then have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence, and all short-term let properties in Scotland will need to be licensed by 1 July 2024. Final guidance on this licensing scheme will be published in early 2022.
All the best,
The Revive Property team
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