What to Look Out for in 2018

Added on February 3rd 2018

If you’re planning to sell, buy, rent or let, 2018 has some changes in store for you so here’s the big changes and their dates so that you’re not caught unawares.

The Help to Save Scheme launches

January, April and October 2018

This scheme was trialled in January for an April launch, but it’s been delayed, probably until October. It aims to help people to get onto the property ladder by asking approved savers to squirrel away up to £50 per month for two years, after which they’ll get a £600 bonus from the government. Once the initial two years is up, you can either extend it for a further two years or cash it in.

New energy rules for landlords

April 2018 and April 2020

As of April this year, landlords starting new tenancies will have to prove that the property meets the minimum energy-efficiency rating – E – by having an Energy Performance Certificate. Existing tenancies will have the same rules by April 2020. This could spell trouble for some as there are estimates of more than 400,000 properties in England and Wales becoming unrentable because they won’t meet these new targets. If you’re a landlord, it’s time to act now because there are fines of up to £4,000 for non-compliance.

Changes to Lifetime ISA bonuses

April 2018

ISAs are a great savings vehicle, especially for those saving to buy their first property. Lifetime ISAs allow savers to get an extra £1,000 tax-free bonus on top of their individual £4,000 maximum. This money can go towards a first home as long as the property is under £450,000. If you’re about to open a Lifetime ISA, or you already have one, then you need to know that the bonus payments will be coming monthly rather than yearly from April onwards.

A ban on letting agency fees to tenants

To be confirmed

Parliament drafted this bill last November and it’ll come into force sometime later this year, so be on the look-out. This ban aims to make renting easier and more transparent for tenants so that they don’t suddenly get stung by hidden fees. It also plans to cap deposits at six weeks’ rent and to require landlords to join the Ombudsman Redress Scheme. If you’re a landlord you should make the necessary adjustments now as there are fines of up to £5,000, plus the fact that charging letting fees will become illegal for landlords in 2018.

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