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Your August Rental newsletter from Sanders, Wright & Freeman

The rental market continues its bumper summer as demand surged following the end of the national lockdown, while the Government continues to implement measures to support tenants and landlords alike. These include temporary changes to procedures when eviction proceedings resume and a temporary reduction to stamp duty. Plus, you could be eligible for up to £5,000 towards energy improvements in your home as part of a new scheme to upgrade more than 600,000 homes.

As always, get in touch with us if you have any questions about these changes - or anything else!

The Sanders, Wright & Freeman team

Our rental market performance over the past month

The UK rental market continues to go from strength to strength, with the summer boom continuing throughout July. The latest data shows rents up and voids dramatically down, as tenants continue to hunt out new leases following months of lockdown-induced delays.

  • We achieved an average rent of £713
  • Our deal turnaround times were 13 days on average
  • On average the tenants we rent to have an income of £21590
  • The average age of our tenants is 38

Temporary changes to procedures when eviction proceedings resume

The Government has made a temporary amendment to Civil Procedure Rules 1998 in order to manage the resumption of possession proceedings when the moratorium on evictions ends on 23 August 2020. The temporary amendment makes several changes to the usual process for possession proceedings, including requiring claimants who wish to resume proceedings to inform the court and defendant in writing of this after the expiry of the stay in a 'reactivation notice and acknowledges that the government expects an increased volume in possession proceedings. The temporary amendment will apply in England and Wales until 28 March 2021, although the changes may be reviewed before then. Changes include:

  • Claimants will now be required to inform the court and the defendant in writing that they want to resume stayed proceedings after the expiry of the stay.
  • Claimants will also be required to provide any relevant information about the defendant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants, so the court can consider defendants vulnerability, disability, and social security position, and those who are shielding.
  • Claimants will also need to, as far as practicable, produce the full arrears history of the defendant in advance rather than at the hearing.
  • The court will be allowed to fix a date either on or after issue, so that hearings may be appropriately spread out.
  • The court will also be able to suspend the standard period between issue of a claim form and hearing, which usually would be not more than eight weeks, again to spread out hearings appropriately to ensure that the court has capacity.

Temporary stamp duty cut

The Government announced a temporary cut to stamp duty in the summer statement, meaning that from 8 July 2020, anyone purchasing a property in England and Northern Ireland will find that the threshold for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has increased from £125,000 to apply to properties of £500,000 or more, on deals finalised before 31 March 2021. The government estimates that nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all. Landlords purchasing buy-to-let properties in England and Northern Ireland can benefit from this temporary change but will still pay the 3% surcharge on properties costing up to £500,000. The potential cost saving from the stamp duty cut may prove tempting for landlords considering entering the rental market, or expanding their portfolio - an influx at just the right time to meet the current strong demand in the rental market.

New vouchers for energy-saving measures

The government is doubling down on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, with an investment of £2bn in England into the Green Homes Grant. The government will provide "at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household." Applications are set to open from September. This means you can make any improvements for a lower cost and attract more climate-conscious tenants and save money in the long run with their energy efficient properties - the government aims for this measure to upgrade over 600,000 homes across England, so households can save hundreds of pounds per year on their energy bills.