2019 has seen a raft of changes to the property industry – and landlords in particular have been affected. As experts in student and professional lets in Leeds, we explain how the changes could affect you as a buy-to-let landlord.
Mortgage interest tax relief
Until April 2017, landlords were able to take away any interest paid on their mortgage from any rental income. This would therefore reduce the overall tax bill. However, this has been phased out. For the current tax year, BTL landlords can only deduct 25% of their mortgage interest and in 2020, landlords won’t be able to deduct anything. Instead a 20% tax credit has been introduced.
In the 2019-20 tax year, personal allowance (the amount you can earn before paying tax) has been increased from £11,850 to £12,500. The higher-rate threshold has also increased, meaning you can earn 50,000 before paying 40% tax.
Capital gains tax allowance
The capital gains tax allowance has also risen from £11,700 to £12,000. As a landlord, if you’re thinking of selling your property, you may be required to pay capital gains tax. However, you will be able to earn more profit tax-free. If you own a property with your partner, you can earn up to £24,000 without paying tax. Anything above this, and you’ll be taxed 18% as a basic-rate payer and 28% as a higher-rate payer.
If you lived in the property before renting it out, capital gains tax rules are different. Currently, you can rent it out for 18 months after moving out before paying such tax on a sale. After this, you can benefit from up to £40,000 in lettings relief. However, these rules are set to change further next year.
At the beginning of the month, the letting fees ban came into force, disallowing landlords and estate agents from charging fees in relation to lettings. The only things that tenants can be charged for are requesting a change in their lease, terminating early or something they are at fault for. While this could mean a loss of money, you can get around this by increasing monthly rents. In terms of deposit, this has now been capped at five weeks’ rent.
Right to Rent
Currently, all tenants are subject to visa checks in order to verify their right to live in the country. However, the High Court ruled that the policy breaches human rights. To date, nothing has changed but it could be an area to watch.
Last October, a rule change saw thousands of landlords now classed as owners of a Home of Multiple Occupancy (HMO). This requires a specific license but currently few landlords have sought the proper licenses. If your property is rented to five or more unrelated people, you could now be classified as an HMO. If you don’t have the appropriate license, you risk being fined.
With Brexit uncertainty rumbling on, many landlords are wondering what it will mean for them. While it’s unlikely that Brexit will impact the UK’s property regulations, we cannot forewarn what affect it will have on the local property market.
Here at sbliving, we can help. Our range of services and expert knowledge ensure that buy-to-let landlords meet their responsibilities and enjoy the rental experience. To find out more, get in touch today.