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Landlords face new smoke alarm rules

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Latest bid to help tenants places additional burden on buy-to-let investors

The latest in a long line of new laws that directly affects landlords revolves around the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all rental properties.

While it’s important to maintain the safety for tenants in all rental properties, many landlords are starting to feel that they are unable to keep up with all the new legislation, much less have time to comply with the new laws.

The new law regarding smoke alarms will come into force in October this year after government figures revealed that there were 26 deaths last year and 670 fire-related injuries.

However, exceptions will be made to HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), social housing and other shared residences that are already covered by existing legislation. Properties where the homeowner also reside will also be excluded.

But when the new law comes into effect on 1 October, a smoke alarm will need to be installed on every floor where there is accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm will be required in every habitable room with a fuel appliance. Failure to meet these standards will result in fines of up to £5000.

Green laws and extra taxes

It was only last December that the government launched its new greener vision on landlords. From as early as 2018, properties with a low efficiency rating of around an F or a G will have to be upgraded to fall in line with government targets. Those with Victorian or properties built before 1919 are likely to be hit hardest.

What’s more, come April 2016 tenants will be able to request energy efficiency consultations for the property, with landlords only able to refuse if the grounds for such a request could be considered unreasonable.

In a bid to make these measures more palatable to landlords, many will be able to apply for funding under the government’s green deal. But although this will rule out the need for upfront payments, that doesn’t mean that in the long run landlords won’t be out of pocket.

Further blows were dealt in the budget with the announcement that tax relief for landlords is to be slashed beginning in April 2017 from 40-45% to 20% over four years. Additionally, the wear and tear allowance that sees landlords able to write off 10% of the rent on a yearly basis is set to change and from April 2016 landlords will have to provide documentation on such expenditure if they wish to claim back the tax.

What can Assetgrove do for you?

Being a landlord certainly is a full time job, all the paperwork, calls from tenants who require endless attention, the need to replace fixtures and fittings or even an unruly tenant.

Much of this is time consuming, never mind the government’s need to regulate and update legislation. Assetgrove specialises in taking the hassle out of being a landlord. We can find you the perfect tenant, bring your property up to code, keep you abreast of new rules, guarantee that the rent is paid on time and certainly install those smoke alarms before legislation requires you to.

If you want more time to relax and spend time with your loved ones then look no further than Assetgrove – the one stop shop for all your property management needs.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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