Electrical safety upgrade for buy to let landlords

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has announced new electrical safety laws are on the way for landlords.

The new measure calls for buy to let landlords to call in qualified electricians to check installations for safety every five years

“Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home. While measures are already in place to crack down on the small minority of landlords who rent out unsafe properties, we need to do more to protect tenants,” said Wheeler.

“These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes.”

No start date for the new safety measure was given, but the rules will phase in for new tenancies from the start, then existing tenancies the following year.

A consultation last year suggested the measure would cost landlords £50 a property every five years.

Tax boost urged for energy efficient landlords

Landlords should be handed a tax incentive to make private rented homes energy efficient, says the Association of Rental Letting Agents (ARLA).

The government plan calls for all rental homes to have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least ‘C’ by 2030, but the target will be missed because landlords cannot afford to make their homes energy efficient without help from the government, argues ARLA.

The best way forward is to offer landlords tax incentives for spending money on energy efficiency.

Buy to let yields plunge to 36-month low

Buy to let yields have slumped to the worst level in three years, but most landlords are still making property profits, new data from a leading lender shows.

Annual yields dropped to 5.6% during the last three months of 2018, says mortgage provider BM Solutions.

But despite low returns on investment, 88% of landlords told researchers for the lender that their property businesses are profitable.

Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions, said: “The buy-to-let industry has been through many regulatory changes over the past few years, and the effects of this are clearly being felt.”

Mayor wants to control London rents

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants powers to control private rents in the capital.

As mayor, Khan cannot stop landlords setting rents how they wish, but he wants ministers to give the assembly powers to regulate private housing costs to help the city’s 2.4 million private tenants.

The mayor says a new survey shows 68% of Londoners favour a cap on private rents.

“London is in the middle of a desperate housing crisis that has been generations in the making. At City Hall we are doing everything in our power to tackle it. I have long been frustrated by my lack of powers to help private renters. Laws for private renters are simply not fit for purpose,” said Khan.

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