Expat landlords to be hit by new law changes

Published:  20 Dec at 6 PM
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Should expat landlords be worried about the Johnson government’s new policies concerning the landlord/tenant relationship?

Given that the Conservative Party’s victory in the UK’s general election has seen a small recovery in the sterling exchange rate as well as surging share prices, have expat buy-to-let landlords any cause for concern over new tenancy laws? Together with recent changes in policy, it’s quite possible new laws strengthening tenants’ rights are on their way as well as rules concerning the standard of rental properties. Tax changes for absentee landlords may also be on the cards.

Two new policies introduced earlier this year are already at the consultation stage and are expected to come into force in the very near future. The first is intended to ban Section 21 no-fault evictions, thus disallowing landlords from taking back their properties for any reason including their personal need for a UK home. The new law is intended to forbid rogue landlords from ridding themselves of potentially problem tenants. The Section 21 rule is to be replaced by Section 8 notices, usually issued following a contract breach by the tenant, and normally involves damaging the property or failing to pay the agreed rent when due.

This model is already in use in Scotland, with landlords only able to remove tenants for a specific reason already listed as part of the new law. Reclaiming a rented-out home for the landlord’s personal use as well as ending a rental contract due to putting a property up for sale are also listed as permissible reasons for eviction of a tenant. In addition, in the pipeline are other laws including bans on letting houses with G or F energy performance certificates, an increase in landlords’ capital gains tax rates and the scrapping of letting relief unless the landlord is sharing the property with his tenant. Tenant deposit reform is also under consultation.
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