Poll finds lack of knowledge among landlords on lettings sector reforms

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Many landlords in the UK are struggling to keep pace with new legislative and regulatory reforms that have been introduced in the past year, according to an independent survey.

Some 30% do not understand the changes to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing, which came into effect in October 2018 and 28% are not aware of the abolition of Section 21, which came into force at the start of June 2019 to prevent unfair tenant evictions.

The survey commissioned by bridging lender Market Financial Solutions, also found that 27% are uncertain about the tenant fees ban, with a further 19% saying they understand the reform but are unsure how it will affect them.

When it some to tax, there was also significant confusion, with the poll showing that 28% do not understand the reforms to inheritance tax that have changed the tax free allowance on properties being passed down and 25% do not know about the reforms affecting tax relief on mortgage repayments, which were implemented in April this year.

The research also found that far more landlords opposed these reforms than supported them. Some 44% are against the banning of letting fees, compared to 23% in favour, 37% against the abolition of Section 21 with 16% in favour, while 48% are against changes to buy to let mortgage relief and 16% for.

‘The legislation and regulation governing the UK’s rental market is constantly evolving, and today’s research clearly shows that landlords are struggling to keep pace with the change. From HMO regulations to the abolition of Section 21, these are significant reforms that, for the most part, are rightly designed to protect tenants,’ said Paresh Raja, chief executive officer of MFS.

‘Nevertheless, there’s evidently frustration among landlords who feel they are being unfairly targeted, particularly when it comes to the stricter taxes being introduced. It’s essential that anyone renting out a property, even if they would not consider themselves a landlord, understands all the new reforms and takes action to ensure their properties meet the necessary standards and their finances are structured in line with the new reforms,’ he added.

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