Key lettings legislation and compliance dates for 2022 and beyond
From the end of the temporary Covid-adjusted right to rent checks to upcoming changes to the carbon monoxide and smoke alarm rules, 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, there's still plenty going on in 2022 for lettings legislation. Right to rent checks will return to normal, landlords and agents alike will need to start digitising their systems for Making Tax Digital, and carbon monoxide and smoke alarm regulations will be updated.
Plus, you'll need to keep tabs on the evolving cost of living crisis and plans to increase minimum energy efficiency standards - and prepare for the Renters' Reform Bill now that the white paper has been released.
The key lettings dates in 2022 and beyond
1 November 2022: Move to Making Tax Digital for VAT returns
VAT registered businesses will have to use Making Tax Digital compatible software to submit their VAT returns from 1 November 2022, when HMRC will switch off its current online system.
Agents will need to make sure that they have the right systems in place to continue to submitting their tax returns on time, to avoid any unnecessary fines or penalties.
You can read more about these changes - and the ones on the horizon for income and corporation tax - in our Making Tax Digital guide.
1 December 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.
1 April 2023: Tax loophole on second homes to close
Second homeowners that currently benefit from business rate relief on their second property will need to rent it out for a minimum of 70 days per year to continue to access the relief, rather than paying council tax, from April 2023.
The property will also have to be "available to rent" for a minimum of 140 days per year. Read our guide for more details.
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
2022/2023 parliamentary session: Legislation for the Renters' Reform Bill (England)
The government is currently in talks with key stakeholders to ensure that the bill considers a wide variety of views on the topic, with a -now closer - call for evidence, and a new consultation on applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
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.
Past key lettings dates
1 October 2022: New extended regulations on carbon monoxide and smoke alarms expected to come into force (England and Wales)
These regulations will now apply to social housing associations, and will extend carbon monoxide regulations to ensure there is an alarm in any room used as living accommodation with a fixed combustion appliance - excluding gas cookers - rather than solid fuel-burning combustion appliance as previously stated.
Landlords and agents will also need to replace or repair any faulty alarms reported by tenants "as soon as reasonably practicable." Read more about the changes in our guide to the extended regulations.
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.
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 - or you can find out more about how to prepare for the changes in our blog and podcast with Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme.
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.