Legal and compliance update – student accommodation in Sussex

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  • Legal and compliance update – student accommodation in Sussex

Right to rent checks

The Government has now extended its digital right to rent checks in England until the 5th April 2022. This means you can continue to prove Right to rent for tenants by showing their original documents over a video call or providing a scanned copy or photos.

There is a potential that the Government may eventually push these to simpler online checks and this is dependant on various trade agreements being signed.

Right to rent checks only required in England they have not yet been rolled out in Ireland, Scotland or Wales. It should be noted that where people have a VISA and they expire then further checks must be made.

Possession claims and notices

The Section 21 which is the end of tenancy notice has now reverted back to the 2 months in all cases. It had been moved to 6 months then 4 but has now reverted to the normal 2 months notice.

A section 8 notice which relates to arrears of rent has now reverted back to 2 weeks for the common grounds such as rent arrears. It is 2 months of grounds which are not of fault of the tenants such as the landlord wishes to regain possession of the property to live in or carry out development work. For antisocial behaviour in relation to immoral use of the property no notice is required. In respect of serious anti-social behaviour only 1 month.

Renters reform bill

The new rents reform bill which is due to resolve all of these issues including adding life time tenancies and many more other laws by the Government. This has for the moment be pushed back to next year. There is a high likelihood that there will be certain previsions within the new act requiring all landlords to be part of a redress scheme. It is not known whether if you let through an agent you don’t need to do so. All lettings agents have to have a redress scheme from now on.

We shall keep you updated on the provisions and what will be included in the renters reform bill.

Property tax in Wales

Wales has devolved some property taxation. They are in high number of second homes in Wales, the Welsh Government is looking into ways of tackling this by making the ownership of second homes and self-catering accommodation more expensive. This will come through the local council tax. Currently, long term empty properties and properties rented in the holiday sector can be charged at high council tax rates by local authorities. However, most of them do not take advantage of this. This may be changed to be increased to at 50 if not 100% on these properties by way of increase.

Rent repayment orders

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding rent repayment orders where councils and courts are giving repayments to tenants on certain cases. There was a recent case where refund was given up to 12 months rent for the following circumstances;

  • The property doesn’t have a licence.
  • The landlord does not comply with the council.
  • The occupier has been harassed or evicted without the correct court paperwork.

This has recently been changed by the law courts. It was first decided that 100% of the rent would be given back but then the courts reverted back to 50%. They are now looking between 75-80% of all rent that has been paid.

It is therefore extremely important that if you do not have a licence or not sure, you should contact us.

In a recent rent to rent case the tenants subsequently sublet the property to other people. The tenants were then served with a notice by the local authority to do certain items in the property. As in effect they were the landlords. So, it is this instance, the landlord lets to a rent to rent company – They then sublet it out to various different people. The subtenants sued the main tenant and won the case. However, they were able to claim the rent in a repayment order back from the main landlord not the people they rented from.

What is rent to rent?

Rent to rent is a very new phenomenon on the rental market. There are a lot of companies that are looking to rent properties and then sublet them out for more money. However, a lot of these companies have no form of track record. Very little by way of assets and many people don’t understand that you cannot have an assured shorthold tenancy in a company name by way of a tenant. If you are approached by any of these types of companies then please be careful.

Breathing space and the mental heath crisis

You are probably not aware but there is a new scheme called Breathing space. If a tenant feels that they are unable to cope with their debts and they need help. They can go to their local authority.

The local authority can therefore suspend any current claiming of rent from the tenant for a minimum of 60 days. In addition suspend any possession proceedings. However, it does not extend to a guarantor.

What will happen to taxes in 2022?

Landlords have been hit with a new tax prospective over the recent budget. However, 2021 was a pretty quiet year but these are the proposals for 2022.

Personal tax allowance

This is the amount you can earn without paying any tax. These change on a regular basis and are normally increased via inflation.

The big news is that the allowance and thresholds normally rise each year in line with inflation but are expected to remain static till 2026. This is an effort to replace some of the costs of the pandemic.

Capital gains tax allowance

This is the money you can earn from the rise in your property value free of tax. You have a personal allowance which has currently been temporarily frozen at £12,300 until 2026.

Are there capital gains tax changes?

There is going to be good news here as there has been an expectation that capital gains tax would increase and the CGT tax allowance would be reduced. This is following the recommendations made by the office of tax implications. However, at the start of December 2021, it was announced they were rejecting these proposals and made it clear they are likely to be implanted in the near future.

This is good news for buy to let investors. However, it is worth reviewing your future plans with an independent financial advisor and tax specialist to make sure you are going to be in the most tax efficient position you can be when you come to sell or dispose of your property or portfolio.

Plans to ensure that your property portfolio is more energy efficient

The current proposals are for a minimum “C” rating to be introduced by 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for existing tenancies. We should know at some point in 2022 whether these are going to be implemented.

If you are therefore thinking of doing any form of refurbishment and have a void period within your property and you have a rating less than C. It may be worth considering what improvements can be made to improve this rating.

These can be seen as an investment as it can help reduce utility bills and the more money you can help tenants save on their heating and hot water the more than likely they will be able to afford their rent. If you can raise your EPC rating to an A or B you may be able to get better mortgage rates.

Where can I find the improvements that are necessary to improve my rating?

Your energy performance certificate will have a list of improvements that can be made in an order you can follow and focus on.

They also give an indication on how this can improve your energy performance of the property. It is very important that you follow the guidelines and talk to your energy assessor who carried out the report for you.

Is it time to review your mortgage finance?

Financial changes are very dependant on how the pandemic develops. There are definitely two factors this year that will take place.

An increase in mortgage rates?

In December 2021, after almost two years of historically low interest rates the bank of England raised its base rate. The current forecast are for this to steadily increase further possibility reaching a higher figure in the summer of 2022.

Base rates if they rise almost go hand in hand with mortgage rates. They normally then start to increase. You might find that your buy to let deals currently available might not be around for much longer and you should talk to your financial advisor.

Lower interest rates are most energy efficient – Properties

Energy efficiency is now going to be the main focus this year and the Bank of England has also started to subject UK banks and insurers to “climate – relate stress tests”. The proposals are that lenders may soon have to provide information on the energy efficiency of their mortgage portfolios. Some lenders may now begin to give incentives to property owners to be greener.

These “green mortgages” can provide more attractive deals for properties rated “C” or above on the energy performance certificate. This means landlords with less energy efficient properties will potentially be paying higher premiums in future.

There are already lenders offering green incentives. Including Natwest, Nationwide and Virgin money but we expect to see a lot more follow suite in 2022.

Do you want a quote on your landlords insurance? Why not talk to our sister company iInsure 365 on 01273 827090 or enquiries@iinsure365.co.uk. Want an instant quote why not click here.

If you have any queries in relation to the above article please do not hesitate to contact. 01273 724000.

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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