Notice Periods Return to Normal
From Friday 1st October, Section 21 and Section 8 Notices returned to the pre-pandemic lengths and prescribed forms were updated on the Government website. However, the government still retain the right to amend the notice periods again until March 2022, as a backstop, should any future public health situation warrant a further extension.
Gas Safety Week 2021
September 15th to 21st was this year’s Gas Safety awareness week. Please remember that, unless your property is managed by Ashington Page, you are responsible for ensuring the Gas Safety is renewed every year without fail. You must ensure your cover is continuous and without an up-to-date certificate, Section 21 or 8 notices will be invalid. Whether your property is managed or not we can arrange your gas safety with one of our qualified gas engineers on request. Please get in touch with a member of our team.
Download our Lettings Service Booklet HERE
Make Tax Digital
HMRC announced they are giving landlords and businesses a further year to prepare for the new reporting system. ‘Make Tax Digital’ will now start in April 2024. The decision was made following feedback from professional property landlords (those with large portfolios) and businesses. For a typical Landlord, the new reporting system will require submitting quarterly accounts to HMRC online, in addition to the annual return. More work? Yes, sadly!
Landlords need to prepare for the new system but at least they now have more time to do so. For those using Rent Collection and Managed services, we send monthly statements* showing expenditure and income and providing Landlords file these documents carefully the reporting should be fairly straightforward.
However, those Landlords who chose to manage their own properties must now plan on how they retain and document this information by using either the services of an accountant or an online system. If you would like to talk to a member of the team about upgrading your Tenant Find service to Rent Collection, please call 01494 685518.
*statements are provided in accordance with the tenancy rent payment schedule
Furlough: Job Retention Scheme ends & Universal Credit Reduces
The government’s furlough scheme has now ended, cutting off support for the 1.6 million staff members still on furlough across 484,000 employers as of 31 July 2021. Throughout its life, 11.6 million jobs were supported by the scheme at a cost of more than £68 billion in total – a large sum for businesses to compensate for in the coming months if they are still feeling the bite of the pandemic.
If your tenant suffered difficulties with their finance during the pandemic, they may have been eligible for Universal Credit, and whilst for our managed tenancies, we speak regularly to tenants in order to understand their financial situation, if you are self-managing and have not discussed finances with your tenant, you may be unaware of their reliance on Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is claimed by 5.8% of the population in England, Scotland & Wales, and in response to the pandemic, a temporary £20 increase to universal credit payments was introduced, however, this was stopped on 6th October, leading to an immediate loss of £1,000pa additional income. Couple this with significant price increases for many household items (including fuel – see next item), it could lead to further trouble with rent arrears.
Following the recent news on energy price increases and the collapse of some of the smaller providers, the South East was dealt with a further blow being that of supply of fuel to pumps leading to much higher petrol/diesel prices.
The nature of our lettings and sales business weighs heavily on the need for our own transport, indeed the social Ashington Page Whatsapp Group has consisted mainly of messages over the last week of where and when the team can get fuel and how long they are likely to queue for it.
As the winter months approach, energy prices are projected to continue rising. Energy companies will give support to lower-income and poor fuel households through various schemes such as Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments or Cold Weather Payments. For the majority of consumers, however, they will no doubt be feeling the pinch particularly if assigned to the larger energy providers and on a variable non-fixed tariff.
Property Inventory – why do I need one?
Some of our new Landlords have been asking about the need for an inventory, particularly if their rental property is unfurnished. Since the day I attended a rental property after check-out, admittedly a ‘let only’ tenancy where we had not been party to regular property visits and found every single wall painted in black gloss, I have always known the answer! Our lettings and property management team will always encourage an inventory for every single rental property, one that is updated for each new tenancy and is used for the basis of each property visit, and for the end of tenancy checks. Here at Ashington Page, we know only too well, that it is near impossible to recover any money for damage or loss via the tenants’ deposits without a professional inventory, schedule of condition, check-in and check-out report.
Visit our website, Landlord Information page or click on the following link for our information brochure: The Importance of a Professional Inventory.
If you have any questions at all about your rental property or lettings issues, I am always here to chat, just drop me an email to: email@example.com or give me a call on 01494 685518.