On the 6th April, new measures were introduced to penalise residential landlords who aren’t compliant with duties set out by housing legislation, notably the Housing Act 2004. Although no new obligations have been introduced, the consequences of neglecting existing ones have been significantly increased.
Local authorities now have the power to impose direct financial penalties on landlords who breach the Act, rather than having to bring a prosecution, up to £30,000 for each offence. They also have extra powers to impose rent repayment orders (RROs).
These measures are already in force, but from October the government is planning to bring in banning orders against landlords, property managers and letting agencies. In the event of a conviction for certain offences, which haven’t yet been specified, the local authority can impose a twelve-month ban on letting property or acting as a letting agency or property manager. Penalties for breaching a banning order can include a prison sentence.
Obviously, this makes it even more vital than before for residential landlords to familiarise themselves with their obligations. Whether you have a large portfolio or a single property, make sure you leave no opportunity for any of these penalties to be brought against you. The best thing is to take legal advice, but you’re very welcome to get in touch for a chat about your options.
The New Tax Year
Since the 6th, we’ve been into the new tax year. If you’ve ever wondered why it falls on such a strange date, it all goes back to when the calendar was changed in 1752, moving the date of new year and cancelling eleven days to get us back in sync with the sun. So we could say that HMRC are still living in the 18th century.
Regardless of that, it’s a good time to remind everyone that paying your taxes isn’t an optional extra. HMRC doesn’t accept excuses, and outstanding taxes are among the most serious kind of debt you can get into, for one thing because the penalties for non-payment can be severe. Even if you escape prosecution, you could very easily find yourself in a position where the only option is insolvency.
None of us like paying taxes, but it’s one of the two great inevitabilities of life. So protect yourself by making sure your debt to the government is your number one priority.