Latest News

Universal Credit update

13 November 2018

With Universal Credit (UC) being in the news so frequently, it's easy to loose track of recent changes and advice. So, to help you, we've highlighted some of the key messages from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and provided links for further information. Read More...

Government announces proposals for new Housing Court

13 November 2018

The Government has launched a consultation which looks at reforming the routes to justice for both landlords and tenants, with the most radical option being to set up a new Housing Court. Read More...

Selective Licensing lowdown

12 November 2018

Selective Licensing and Additional Licensing schemes continue to be adopted by local authorities across the country, despite evidence that suggests they simply do not work. We take a look at few of the most recent ones that have either come into force or will be coming into force shortly, and tell you what we're doing to help you understand them. Read More...

Was the Autumn Budget one of missed opportunities?

Friday 02 November 2018

Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating officer for Propertymark Industry Supplier Payprop UK asks if the Chancellor's Autumn Budget earlier this week was one of missed opportunities?

To many, the 2018 Autumn Budget felt like a missed opportunity for the lettings sector.

In particular, the industry lamented a lack of new announcements in the areas of tax relief and short-term lets – both areas of concern to letting agents.

On the other hand, some unexpected positives were forthcoming.

Tax relief damp squib

As the cost of letting properties continues to rise, there have been strong rumours of a range of tax incentives that would have given many landlords the impetus they need to keep providing much-needed rental housing stock for the growing tenant population.

For example, there was speculation of a tax clamp-down on the short-term lets sector, which has unfortunately failed to materialise.

In addition, it was announced that lettings relief from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) will only apply when an owner is selling a property in which he or she shares occupancy with the tenant. This will not have been received warmly, and could encourage landlords who are considering selling a property to do so before this measure is introduced in less than two years. In doing so, they would still benefit from CGT lettings relief before it is abolished.

As such, this proposal could have a direct impact on rental housing stock, which is already under pressure due to a number of factors – not least a population of private renters which continues to grow as taxation conditions for landlords become more challenging.

But despite this less-than-stellar news, the Budget also contained positives for letting agents.

Stamp duty rise for overseas buyers

For example, it's very welcome news that the stamp duty surcharge on overseas buyers will only be levied at 1%, rather than the initially proposed maximum of 3%.

Anything that will make it easier for domestic buyers to buy property and keep the market fluid is crucial. However, overseas investment in UK property shouldn't be completely discouraged with unreasonable taxes.

Particularly in London, the presence of overseas buyers is extremely important for renters as many properties bought by overseas buyers are then let privately. 

Business rate boost for small letting agents

One measure that will benefit many small letting agents is the proposal to cut business rates by 33% for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

This represents a timely boost for small agents operating on the high street in increasingly challenging conditions.

Next year looks set to be a pivotal year for the future of the industry with challenges including the introduction of the Tenant Fees Bill. Lower business rates for small letting agents will help them to continue to operate effectively on the high street.