Key dates for landlords in 2021

News at Waterfords | 08/07/2021

Key dates for landlords in 2021

With the first half of 2021 behind us, it’s time to prepare for what the second half of the year has in store for landlords and tenants. What new rules, changes and updates do landlords need to be aware of for the rest of the year? Knowing what to expect next will help you make the right decisions for your property and tenancy. It will also help you adapt to upcoming changes because you will already be familiar with them.

Here at Waterfords Estate Agents, we can help you approach the remainder of the year with preparation and ease. We have created this list of important dates to ensure you are ahead of the game as a residential landlord in Camberley, Fleet, Yateley and Chobham.


July – stamp duty holiday threshold reduction

June 30 2021 marked the end of the first stage of the stamp duty holiday, with the nil rate threshold instead falling to £250,000 until September 30. From October 1, the nil rate will fall to the pre-Covid level of £125,000.

Rishi Sunak kickstarted the stamp duty holiday in July 2020. Since then, it has helped thousands of first-time buyers and home movers living in the UK. It has also contributed greatly to the bounce-back of the UK housing market, giving buyers a helping hand purchasing properties during such a challenging time.  

Despite Covid and the challenging conditions this has presented, estate agents have successfully reacted to this surge in demand by conducting virtual and Covid-safe, in-person house viewings. This has meant buyers have still been able to move home even with the Covid-19 measures in place.

Many are eager to see the impact the end to the first stage of the holiday will have on the market. Some anticipate a decline in interest, while others expect a continued surge. For the moment, high demand is being sustained and record numbers of homes are selling above asking price, highlighting the strength of the housing market.


July – Right to Rent changes

Another important change occurring on the first of July concerned the government’s controversial Right to Rent policy. Now, before letting a property to EEA, EU, or Swiss nationals, landlords must move from checking their nationality to checking the UK immigration status of all adult applicants. 

Since the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 2021, EU residents have had a six-month grace period to apply for settled status. Those who applied for this before the July 1 deadline will still be allowed to remain in their rented accommodation until their paperwork completes.

Those who have not already applied are in jeopardy of losing essential rights, such as the right to rental accommodation.


August – Right to Rent measures

As a result of the pandemic, landlords and letting agents have been able to carry out Right to Rent checks by video call and submitting scanned or photographed documents. Initially, these were temporary measures to work around Covid-19 government guidelines, but they have been extended a number of times, mostly recently until the end of August.

This could be extended further, depending on restrictions, while there have been calls from some to make checks by video calls a permanent feature for those who want it in the future, given they appeared to have worked well since the onset of the pandemic.


September – Stamp duty holiday and furlough set to end

September 30 2021 marks the end of the stamp duty holiday. After this date, the well-liked incentive will no longer apply to residential properties that cost over £250,000. Instead, the stamp duty threshold will return to £125,000.

After being extended innumerable times, the furlough scheme – known officially as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - is due to end at the end of September 2021. Under the job retention scheme, 80% of wages, which are capped at £2,500 a month, are paid to employees unable to work as a result of Covid-19.

Millions of people working across various industries have been financially supported thanks to the scheme. Without furlough, many would have been made redundant. According to Statista around 11.5 million jobs were furloughed as of May 14 2021.

Many are apprehensive as to whether the scheme will be extended again. If restrictions are reintroduced later this year, there may be calls for the scheme to be prolonged once more.

There is a strong correlation between this financial support measure ending and the property market. The end of the scheme could leave many unemployed. Historically, increased unemployment has resulted in fallen house prices. During the 2008 financial crisis, for example, unemployment increased to 8% and house prices took a 20% dip.

There are also concerns about increased rental arrears, if tenants lose their jobs. Or landlords leaving the rental market, if they themselves become unemployed or financially compromised.

On the upside, the success of the vaccine rollout and the easing of restrictions is expected to lead to many parts of the economy reopening, which should help to protect many of the jobs that have been furloughed.


October – The eviction process returns to normal 

From October 1 2021, the eviction process is set to return to normal. When a Section 21 notice is issued, the notice period will return to two months.


November - The White Paper for rental reform

Though no clear date has been put forward just yet, a Rental Reform White Paper is set to come into action in autumn. Reforming the private rental sector has been one of the government’s main pledges since it came to power a few years ago, but the Covid crisis has prevented any firm action being taken so far.

We have no firm details about what the White Paper from the government will contain, but it is expected to include proposals to scrap Section 21 eviction notices and introduce lifetime deposits for tenants.

Once it has been agreed by politicians, the Renters’ Reform Bill will start its path towards legislation, expected to be late this year.


December – Stay alert

There has been no information about what the month December will have in store. As updates come through, we will update you about what to look out for.

Government restrictions, which of course stemmed from the Covid-19 pandemic, have caused changes in the property industry. The immunisation program is running smoothly, but we advise that you stay informed of any updates and possible restrictions, as these can alter usual work practices.


Further landlord advice from Waterfords

With all the constant legislation changes in the lettings industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date as a residential landlord. Get in touch with Waterfords Lettings and Property Management if you have any questions or concerns. We would be happy to advise you. Please note that this article was correct at the time of publication in July 2021. If you require more up-to-date advice then please get in touch with our lettings team.

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