Key lettings legislation and compliance dates for 2022 and beyond
From the end of the temporary Covid-adjusted right to rent checks to new material information rules for portal listings, landlords are going to need letting agents' guidance more than ever in 2022 when it comes to compliance.
Although there are fewer Covid-related deadlines on the horizon for 2022, there's still plenty going on in lettings legislation. Right to rent checks will return to normal, and landlords and agents alike will need to start digitising their systems for Making Tax Digital.
Plus, you'll need to keep tabs on the evolving energy crisis and plans to increase minimum energy efficiency standards - and prepare for the Renters' Reform Bill white paper, expected to land in early 2022.
The key lettings dates in 2022 and beyond
Spring 2022: Renters' Reform Bill white paper (England)
The Levelling Up White Paper has also added a landlord register, stronger right to redress for tenants, and minimum standards to the list. A further white paper on the proposals is expected in early 2022 to outline how these changes and new rules for landlords and agents will be implemented.
The government is currently in talks with key stakeholders to ensure that the Bill considers a wide variety of views on the topic. In the meantime, you can download your free guide to the Renters' Reform Bill proposals.
31 May 2022: New material information in property listing rules (UK)
Landlords and agents will need to include certain material information in their property listings from the end of May 2022 onwards, including tenure (for sales listings), council tax bands, and sale or rent price of the property.
These fields will be in all portals by the end of May. If an agent or landlord were to leave those fields empty after that date, it would be flagged and "link to advice for consumers on why that information is important and how it may be obtained."
You can read more on the National Trading Standards site.
15 July 2022: Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
Renting in Wales will change drastically from July 2022, when new rules for tenancy types and notice periods will be introduced, to "make it simpler and easier to rent a home".
Landlords will need to give their tenants 6 months' notice for no-fault evictions from this date, and will be unable to serve a no-fault notice in the first 6 months of the tenancy. Read more about what will change on the government site.
30 September 2022: End to Covid-19 adjusted right to rent checks (England)
This is to give landlords and agents more time to prepare to choose and onboard the new Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) providers for use after 6 April 2022, as outlined above.
There is already a new digital process in place for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, who can access a share code to prove their right to rent, plus rules for B5JSSK nationals have also been confirmed.
Plus, to let your tenants know what to expect from the overall referencing process, you can download a free checklist to share with them.
1 October 2022: Any further changes to the energy price cap will take effect
Ofgem is expected to review the energy price cap once again in August 2022.
“Following the catastrophic events in the Ukraine and the subsequent supply concerns across Europe, wholesale prices have been extremely volatile," says Dr Craig Lowrey, Senior Consultant at Cornwall Insight, a management consultancy that's predicted that bills may increase to £2,900 on average per household.
1 April 2023: First payments start to be due for Economic Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) Levy (UK)
The Economic Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) Levy will apply to businesses that are regulated for anti-money laundering (AML), including estate and letting agencies.
The levy will be charged based on companies that are regulated from 1 April 2022 to March 2023, meaning that the first payments will be due after 1 April 2023. It will be a fixed fee based on your agency's size.
6 April 2024: Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessments (UK)
For businesses registered for Income Tax Self Assessments and with an annual business or property income above £10,000, income and expenses will need to be submitted digitally four times a year, and allowances and adjustments at least once a year.
Legislation dates yet to be confirmed
TBC: Confirmation on increasing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (England and Wales)
Although an increase to minimum energy efficiency standards is awaiting government feedback from the consultation stage, it's expected that, from April 2025, all new tenancies for private rented properties will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above, up from the current requirement of a band E rating.
From 2028, this increase will apply to all tenancies. This new legislation would also increase the capped amount that landlords would be required to invest to achieve the higher ratings, from £3,500 to £10,000.
TBC: Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) (England)
The Regulation of Property Agents report proposed three top recommendations for property agents: a new and independent property-agent regulator, a Code of Practice, and minimum entry requirements and mandatory professional development.
Although many agents are starting to prepare now and achieve the expected qualifications, there is currently no date for when it will be introduced.
TBC: Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax (UK)
A consultation on Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax closed in March 2021.
Although there is no set date for when this will become law, estate agencies and landlords operating as a limited company will need to prepare for the digitalisation of their systems to submit their Corporate Tax returns and keep digital accounting records.
TBC: Extending regulations for domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (England)
The proposals will make smoke alarms mandatory in all social rented homes and carbon monoxide alarms will need to be fitted in all rented properties with gas boilers or fires - in all rooms with a fixed combustion device.
Past key lettings dates
10 May 2022: The Queen's Speech
The Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the next parliamentary session. This includes outlining its plans to grow the economy, cut the cost of living, among other initiatives.
Traditionally, this has also been the vehicle the government has used to update the property sector on the status of existing legislative proposals, and announce plans for new legislation.
Whether or not it will include details of any further lettings legislation for 2022 remains to be seen.
You should take note of what's announced to ensure you keep your customers up to date on any changes that may affect them.
28 April 2022: Building Safety Bill receives royal assent
Some changes will take place in the first 12 months after Royal Assent - including changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which will clarify responsibilities in HMOs - while the bulk will come into force 12-18 months after - including new responsibilities for the "Accountable Person" when managing building safety risks in "occupied high-rise buildings".
15 April 2022: Consultation to close on "A new deal for tenants" (Scotland)
The Scottish government launched a consultation in December 2021 on proposals aiming to give tenants "stronger rights, greater protections against eviction and access to greener, higher-quality, more affordable housing".
The consultation will remain open until April 2022, and a final strategy is expected to be published by the end of the year.
6 April 2022: Right to rent rules will change to cover the new digital process for British and Irish citizens (England)
The government has announced that the rules will change from 6 April 2022 to allow the use of certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) providers to check the right to rent - both ID and eligibility checks - of British and Irish citizens on behalf of landlords and their agents.
6 April 2022: Biometric Residence Card / Permit holders will need to use the right to rent online checking service (England)
From 6 April, landlords and agents in England will no longer be able to check biometric residence cards or permits manually. Your applicants will need to prove their right to rent with a share code which you can then check via the online checking service.
1 April 2022: Energy price cap will increase (UK)
On 1 April 2022, the energy price cap will rise by 54%, affecting over 75% of households. This means an average £693 increase in energy bills to £1,971.
Estate and letting agents need to ensure you understand your tenants' financial situations.
1 April 2022: Making Tax Digital for VAT (UK)
As part of the government's plans to make HMRC "one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world", all agencies or landlords registered for VAT will need to sign up to Making Tax Digital, and keep digital VAT records and use software packages to submit their VAT returns from April 2022.