The past few months have seen many announcements and changes affecting property investors and it finally seems that things seem to be settling down into a ‘new normal’ pattern.
It certainly is a tough time to be investing in property, however, it’s absolutely critical to remember that your investment is for the long term and the current uncertainty will undoubtedly be around for a much shorter time than your investment cycle!
I wanted to take the opportunity in this blog to bring you up to date with the current situation in terms of the Green Homes Grant and Evictions Ban as there have been some noteworthy developments since my previous blogs on the topics.
Green Homes Grant
The Green Homes Grant was announced by the Chancellor in July and consists of funding of up to either £5,000 or £10,000 towards making homes more energy-efficient.
You can read my previous blog that gives you an initial overview of the scheme here. This is a brilliant scheme and something that everyone ought to make the most of; it will bring an added benefit to your tenants in helping to keep their bills down and enables you to contribute to this positive outcome for them.
It has been confirmed that landlords are able to apply for a voucher for home improvements covering up to two-thirds of the value of the works, up to £5,000. Works must be carried out by a participating contractor and vouchers can be applied for through the Simple Energy Advice website from the end of September.
There is a list of primary and secondary measures that the scheme covers. A primary measure is, for example, loft and cavity wall insulation, whereas a secondary measure covers things such as doors and windows. When applying for a voucher the website will advise on which measures are most suitable.
Where a secondary measure is implemented, the value of subsidy for it is capped at the value of the primary measure. For example, if you receive £300 funding for a primary measure you can only use £300 for a secondary measure.
With a lot of properties in Medway being old, Victorian buildings these measures will be very well received and, unless you have just completed a full refurbishment, it is something that I am sure the majority of good landlords will benefit from (it will certainly be interesting to see the take-up and how contractors will manage the demand!).
In my last blog, I published a Q&A that I know a number of landlords found extremely helpful (you can read the full article here). There were a few outstanding questions which have now been answered as the Government publish full details of the policy:
Q: What is the full impact on Section 21 notices?
A: A big concern that was raised when the policy was announced is that Section 21 notices are only valid for six months, so a six-month ban effectively abolished the use of Section 21. The full policy confirmed that Section 21 notices issued up to 31st March are valid for ten months.
Q: What about anti-social behavior?
A: In relation to anti-social behavior, landlords can issue a Section 21 notice of four weeks as opposed to six months. I would strongly recommend legal advice here however as it will be interesting to see what type of behavior a judge will deem to be anti-social!
Q: Are there any other exceptions?
A: It is my understanding that the notice period where there is a case of domestic violence is just two weeks, for rent arrears over six months it is four weeks and for tenancies gained through fraud it is two weeks.
In addition to this, where the grounds of eviction are in relation to a tenant’s immigration status or if possession is sought by the landlord following the death of a tenant the notice period is just three months.
Whilst it is positive to see that the Government has responded to several concerns raised by landlords and the NRLA, the next six months are still looking to be a bumpy ride. However, I do believe that there will be a number of positive opportunities for the savvy investor!