Although there are fewer Covid-related deadlines in 2022, there is still a lot going on in lettings legislation. Right-to-rent checks will resume, and landlords and agents alike will need to begin digitising their systems in preparation for Making Tax Digital. You'll also need to keep an eye on the evolving energy crisis and plans to raise minimum energy efficiency standards - as well as prepare for the Renters' Reform Bill white paper, which is expected to be released in early 2022.
Important dates in 2022
Covid-19 adjusted right to rent checks on April 1, 2022. (England)
The temporary measures allowing the right to rent checks via video calls and share photocopies or photos of documents rather than the originals are set to expire in April 2022. The government has stated that it is looking into ways to create a digital system for all checks, including those for British and Irish citizens, and that retrospective checks of original documents for the time that the temporary measures were in place are no longer necessary. A new digital process is already in place for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, who can access a share code to prove their right to rent, and rules for B5JSSK nationals have also been confirmed. You can also share a free referencing checklist with your tenants to let them know what to expect from the process.
VAT will be made digital on April 1, 2022. (UK)
As part of the government's plans to make HMRC "one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world," all VAT-registered agencies and landlords will be required to sign up for Making Tax Digital, keep digital VAT records, and submit VAT returns using software packages beginning in April 2022.
Energy price cap increase to be announced in February 2022
The government will announce the amount by which the energy price cap will be raised in February 2022. This increase will go into effect on April 1, 2022, and energy bills will rise accordingly.
Important dates in 2023 and Beyond
Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessments on April 6, 2024 (UK)
Income and expenses must be submitted digitally four times a year for businesses registered for Income Tax Self Assessment and with an annual business or property income of more than £10,000, and allowances and adjustments must be submitted at least once a year.
Legislation dates have yet to be determined.
Winter 2021/2022: Confirmation of higher Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (England and Wales)
Although an increase in minimum energy efficiency standards is currently awaiting government feedback from the consultation stage, it is expected that, beginning in April 2025, all new tenancies for private rented properties will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or higher, up from the current requirement of a band E rating. This increase will apply to all tenancies beginning in 2028. The capped amount that landlords would be required to invest to achieve higher ratings would also be increased from £3,500 to £10,000.
White paper on the Renters' Reform Bill, expected in early 2022. (England)
The Renters' Reform Bill includes proposals such as repealing Section 21, strengthening Section 8, and introducing lifetime tenant deposits, as well as the possibility of a landlord register. A white paper outlining how these changes will be implemented is expected in early 2022. The government is currently in discussions with key stakeholders to ensure a policy that takes into account a wide range of perspectives on the subject.
TBD: The Building Safety Bill is expected to be granted royal assent.
The Building Safety Bill is currently in the House of Commons, awaiting Royal Assent, which is expected in the autumn of 2023. Following receipt, the government developed a transition plan outlining how it will prioritise each key element. Some changes will take effect within the first 12 months of Royal Assent, such as changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 clarifying responsibilities in HMOs, while the majority will take effect 12-18 months later, including new responsibilities for the "Accountable Person" when managing building safety risks in "occupied high-rise buildings."
TBD: Making Corporation Tax Digital (UK)
In March 2021, a consultation on Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax concluded. Although no date has been set for when this will become law, estate agencies and landlords operating as limited companies will need to prepare for the digitalization of their systems in order to submit Corporate Tax returns and keep digital accounting records.