Do you still remember the New Year’s resolutions you made for 2018? Too often, perhaps, the best intended of resolutions are but passing fads that barely make it to the end of January.
However, there are others which might see you in good stead throughout this year – and well into the next. With that in mind, here at UKinsuranceNET, we have devised some of the resolutions which buy to let landlords might want to keep in mind for the months ahead …
Review your buy to let insurance
It’s hardly surprising, of course, that we put your landlord insurance at the top of the list. It’s there because of the role it plays in protecting not only the bricks and mortar of your buy to let investment but the countless additional risks and liabilities faced by any landlord.
Make it a resolution to look carefully at your landlord insurance cover as it comes up for renewal this year. Avoid any temptation to renew it automatically, but consider whether an alternative product or adjustments to your existing cover are likely to result in a better and more affordable deal. We can help you with this.
Every year seems to bring more than its fair share of new legislation and increased regulation of the private rental sector – and 2018 is unlikely to prove any exception.
Difficult as it may be to stay on top of the growing list of responsibilities and obligations as a landlord, make sure to keep abreast of the times and prepare yourself well in advance for changes which may affect the way your buy to let business needs to be run.
One of those crucial obligations is your duty to file an income tax declaration on the rental income you earned in the year ending the 5th of April 2018.
Income tax is a tricky and complicated subject at any time, but for landlords, working out your rental income and ensuring that you have offset this against all of the allowances to which you are entitled may be especially onerous.
Remember that the deadline for submitting a paper copy of your tax return is the 5th of October 2018 or the 31st of January 2019, advises the Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine.
Maintenance, improvements and EPC’s
Your maintenance and improvement programme for 2018 may assume even more critical importance in the year ahead.
With effect from April of this year, your let property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least an “E”. If it falls below that rating, you are in breach of the 2018 Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency standard and no longer permitted to offer your property for let to new tenants. By April of 2020 – only two short years away – the same rules apply to all existing tenancies.
You are legally obliged to have any gas installation in your let property checked every year by a qualified Gas Safe engineer. Make sure to schedule an appointment for this vital inspection soon, therefore, and remember that a copy of the certificate needs to be passed on to your tenants.
Although you are not – yet – bound by law to conduct a similar inspection of the electrical installation your general responsibility for ensuring the safety of the let accommodation makes it a sensible precaution. You might want to contact a qualified electrician to inspect the wiring and appliances during the course of the coming year.