Legal Update for 2012!

The past twelve months has seen various legislative changes within the private sector. We've summed up the key bits and pieces for landlords below;

December 2011 - The annual rent threshold for when a tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) increased from £25k to £100k in Wales. Any tenancy with an annual rent of between the two figures became an AST overnight and the rights and responsibilities associated with the Housing Act extended to these higher rent properties. Additionally, deposits taken for these tenancies were required to be protected and the procedure for evicting tenants changed to be in line with the Housing Act.

March 2012 - The temporary amnesty that meant first-time buyers were exempt from paying Stamp Duty on homes costing under £250k ended. There remains nothing payable on purchases under £125k, whereas buyers are now paying 1% for properties between £125k and £250k. 3% is payable on anything between £250k and £500k, 4% on purchases over £500k and 5% for residential properties over £1m.

April 2012 - The Localism Act 2011 closed the loopholes that some landlords had been exploiting when it came to protecting their  deposits. The 14-day period in which to protect a deposit taken in accordance with an AST was extended to 30 days, but tenants can now issue a claim against their landlord if it remains unprotected from Day 31 onwards. Former tenants will also be able to bring a claim against the landlord, instead of the previous ruling of current tenants only.

April 2012 - The same Act also made obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) a requirement before a property is put on the market for sale or to let. Agents must obtain a copy within 7 days of marketing, though a further 21 days is allowed if all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain one within the initial 7-day period. The penalty for non-compliance remains at £200 for dwellings or 12.5% of the rateable value with a minimum £500 and maximum £5,000 for commercial.

For more information give CPS Homes Lettings a call on 02920 668585.

18 December 2012


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