With 2020 behind us, it’s time to start looking towards the busy year ahead in lettings legislation. We’ve compiled all the important dates for 2021 that landlords and letting agents need to be aware of, as well as expected legislation without a set date that you should keep an eye out for.

29th January 2021 – Second reading of the dogs and domestic animals (accommodation and protection) bill

Put forward by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell and supported by a number of animal welfare charities like the RSPCA, the dogs and domestic animals bill is intended to make it easier for responsible pet owners to find rental accommodation and for landlords and letting agents to offer it to them.

If passed, pet owners, providing that they are responsible, will have the assumed right to bring a pet into a rental property without the landlord’s approval.

31st January 2021 – Online Tax Return Deadline

It may seem obvious, but with lockdown, home schooling and other commitments, it’s easy for the tax return deadline to slip your mind! You must file your self-assessment tax return online and pay what you owe before the 31st January 2021.

However, due to the pandemic, the government have waived the usual £100 late filing penalty this year, providing that the self-assessment is completed before the 28th February. Tax payers are still required to pay their tax bills by the 31st January, but will not incur a late charge for if they do not complete their self-assessment by this time.

1st February 2021 – Parliament to debate extension to Stamp Duty Holiday

Since July, homebuyers across the UK have benefited from the Stamp Duty Holiday, saving an average of £4500 as a result. A petition to extend the deadline reached over 100,000 signatures and is set to be debated in parliament on 1st February.

An extension could mean that anyone currently in the process of buying a house will be granted extra time to complete in order to benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday.

21st February 2021 – Changes to eviction legislation in England

Due to the pandemic, the government changed eviction legislation meaning that landlords had to give six months’ notice before evicting a tenant. There are exceptions to this law, for example in cases of domestic abuse, extreme rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

This rule is set to end on 21st February for landlords in England, but is extended until 31st March for Scotland and Wales.

31st March 2021 – Stamp Duty Holiday set to end

The Stamp Duty Holiday is set to end on 31st March 2021. Depending on the results of the parliamentary debate, this could mean that homebuyers and sellers have until this date to find their next home or find a buyer and still benefit from the Stamp Duty Holiday even if they do not complete before the deadline, providing they have a certificate of sale.

1st April 2021 – Client Money Protection Scheme Deadline

The deadline for agents to comply with a client money protection scheme is 1st April. This applies to all property management or letting agents in the private rented sector in England who hold clients’ money. These schemes protect tenants and landlords, so that they will be compensated if your agency cannot repay their money.

Having been pushed back twice over the past few years, the April deadline is absolute, and failure to comply could lead to a £30,000 fine.

To find out more about client money protection schemes, head to the dedicated government website.

1st April 2021 – deadline for electrical compliance

From the 1st April, all landlords must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) certificate for every property they let out. Failure to produce a satisfactory report could result in a £30,000 fine.

The report must be completed by a qualified and competent engineer at least every five years and landlords must be able to provide a copy to tenants and, if requested, their local authority. If you haven’t already got an EICR certificate on all your properties, it is imperative that you get this booked in as a matter of urgency.

The Property Maintenance People are currently taking bookings for EICRs. Click here to get yours booked in today.

30th June 2021 – Changes to Right to Rent

Currently, all landlords in the UK have to check every tenant’s immigration status to find out if they are legally allowed to rent a property. This is set to change with the new points-based system brought in after Brexit, but it is not yet known how this will impact Right to Rent.

Until 30th June, landlords are to continue using passports and national ID cards when they let out a property.

Yet to be confirmed

Landlords to implement MTD

Making Tax Digital is a new initiative from the government which aims to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right. The system requires landlords to send HMRC quarterly updates of income and expenses via your digital tax account, so that your tax is calculated as you go and you will not need to file a tax return at the end of the year. Instead, you will sign a declaration to say that the numbers are correct.

The deadline for all landlords with a turnover of over £85,000 to implement MTD will be some time in 2021. There will be an additional deadline in 2022 for all businesses to sign up, regardless of their turnover.

Renters’ Reform bill and end of Section 21

Discussions around the Renters’ Reform bill had been taking place even prior to the pandemic, but it has been suggested that the bill is on the agenda for 2021. The bill aims to abolish section 21 and ‘no fault’ evictions, as well as improving grounds for landlords to regain possession of their properties under section 8.

Increase to Capital Gains Tax

Following a review commissioned by Rishi Sunak which recommended an increase in capital gains tax in the UK to fill the fiscal hole left by COVID-19, it is worth preparing and budgeting for this tax increase. Impacting those who own second homes, the increase is likely to hit landlords the hardest.

Whatever the legislation for letting agents, you can rest assured that EZ Property reports are here to support you with all of your reporting, photography and videography needs. To find out more about our latest software designed to support letting agents, click here.


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