Some landlords may be unaware that Norwich City Council have forthcoming changes to council tax liability in respect of empty properties within the city boundaries. From 1st April 2015 if a property is vacant and unfurnished full council tax charge will apply for this period. No doubt we will still have the unclear liability issue with NCC if tenants vacate a property earlier than their lease end date. But this will have such an impact on both landlords and letting agents.... be prepared!
Did you know the Immigration Act 2014 introduces new restrictions that will apply to private residential rental agreements?
Since 1st December 2014, in large parts of the West Midlands it’s now against the law to rent accommodation to a person who is disqualified by their unlawful immigration status. Those who fail to comply with the law may be liable to a civil penalty of up to £3,000 for each tenant. This legislation applies to landlords, letting agents who act on behalf of landlords, tenants who sublet accommodation and individuals who accommodate lodgers in their own homes in return for rent.
The new restrictions are being introduced on a phased basis, starting with the local authority areas of Birmingham City Council, Wolverhampton City Council, and the metropolitan borough councils of Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall. Landlords, letting agents and tenants in these areas need to know their obligations and start performing the checks.
The checks are modelled on the ‘right to work’ checks employers have performed for many years. In most cases, the checks will involve a face value examination of documents such as a passport, a permanent residence card or a biometric immigration document. You’ll need to keep copies of the documentation as evidence the checks have been carried out and retain them for one year after the tenancy ends.
Landlords are you aware of the impending changes affecting the letting of your property? In 2018 it will be illegal to let a property which is deemed to be energy inefficient. It may be worth while planning ahead during any vacant periods to ensure that the energy rating of your property is improved and it is thought likely that the rating will be fixed at an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) E, although this is yet to be confirmed.
From April 2018 it will be illegal to rent out a property where the minimum efficiency standard has not been achieved (Energy Act 2011) so therefore any F and G rated properties will need to be improved to ensure they comply.
Something to consider if you are considering any improvements or renovations!
Norwich has been voted happiest place to be a child in a new survey. Thanks to a combination of open spaces, public amenities, safe roads and other factors for a safe and happy childhood. We can't agree more!