- Tax cuts for good landlords report gets support - 05.09.2014
Calls for tax cuts for good landlords have been hailed as a “helpful contribution to the debate”.
The Chartered Institute of Housing this week recommended new tax incentives for landlords willing to sign up to a national accreditation scheme designed to raise rented home standards – with an estimated 1 in every 3 properties now failing to reach the government’s Decent Homes standard.
The report argues this would encourage landlords to improve the condition and management of their properties by offering them the resources and incentive to do so.
Alongside advocating for the creation of a widely publicised and easily understood set of minimum management and property condition standards for rented homes and sufficient resources to enforce them, the report’s suggestions for encouraging landlords to commit to higher standards include:
•Giving accredited landlords a more generous tax allowance for ‘allowable expenses’, where landlords deduct the cost of repairs from their profits for income tax purposes.
•The ability to treat any improvements needed to bring a property up to standard as an ‘allowable expense’, instead of deducting it from their capital gains tax liability.
•Allowing accredited landlords to benefit from capital gains tax rollover relief if they invest the proceeds from the sale of a rental property in another property.
- The Importance of An Inventory - 18.08.2014
Under the revised terms of the Housing Act 2004 it is stipulated that all deposits taken by Landlords on an a Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Once the deposit is lodged with the Deposit Protection Agency then it requires the written agreement from both parties to release the deposit back to the tenant. If both parties cannot agree then the dispute is taken to Arbitration within the scheme's rules.
Supporting documentation if this happens is primarily the Inventory, check in report ,check out report and the Tenancy Agreement. Any correspondence between both parties will also be considered if it is relevant. In any dispute the Inventory is critical. If the inventory is out of date, nonexistent or of poor quality, the Landlord is immediately on a backfoot in making any claim at all unless the tenant admits to the claim.
The actual inventory should be of a high standard and not only be a comprehensive list of all fixtures, fittings and contents, but should provide a full schedule of each individual items condition. Since the new legislation came into force. The inventory and schedule of condition should itemise every wall, flooring and surface, clearly describing its condition. Every mark noted should be accompanied by a photograph that clearly shows the size and detail of the mark so there can be no dispute at the end of the tenancy. Detail like the make, model and condition of appliances are especially important.
The number of deposit disputes going to Alternative Dispute Resolution has dramatically increased with over 1,000 tenancy deposit disputes a month. The need for detailed, consistent and well documented inventories has never been more important and highlighted.
Detailed below is an example of a case where the landlord was left without a legal leg to stand on!
Case Study 1
After a tenant moved in, she was very reluctant to let the landlord enter the property, the landlord decided to take a relaxed approach. It was on leaving the property that the problems began.....
The landlord wrote after the event whilst admitting he had no inventory in place.....
The tenant is denying that the place is dirty (it is filthy) and wants her deposit back! With so many breaches of the tenancy agreement and so much cost to put the place right, how can she have a leg to stand on? The agency is in the process of getting quotes for the cleaning, decorating and gardening and it is going to run into considerably more than her £800 deposit. It will no doubt be referred to an arbitrator, as she is not agreeing she has done anything wrong. Would any arbitrator in their right mind tell us to give her her deposit back, given the above?
And an example of where the landlord had a full comprehensive inventory in place with supporting dated pictures...
Case Study 2
A Landlord let a modern 4 bedroom family home in good order. The property having previously been the family home. They had all the carpets cleaned before the start of the tenancy and a professional clean. At the end of the tenancy the carpets were in a bad way, above fair wear and tear, and the children had marked the walls with crayon. In addition the children's bedrooms had been painted in bright colours. Thanks to a detailed inventory report the Landlord was able to claim the full cost of redecoration to the bedrooms and part redecoration costs elsewhere, part cost of a replacement carpet and the cost of a clean.
Most of the time, the deductions from tenants deposits are quite straightforward. Normally cleaning is to be expected with a few minor amounts taken for broken or missing articles, especially if the property is furnished. However it's when there are grey areas that the inventory becomes invaluable.
The overriding message is don't let a property without an inventory! For the cost of a small initial outlay you can be safe in the knowledge that your investment and home is fully protected.
With Passion For Property able to do inventories from £90.00 plus VAT, this really is a small price to pay to protect your property.