What changes will affect buy-to-let landlords in 2018?

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Question

This year, the government is introducing several changes that affect buy to let landlords.

From April 1st 2018, it will be illegal to let out property to new tenants if it has an energy rating lower than an E. From 2020, this rule will also apply to existing tenants. Landlords with properties that are rated F or G should install energy efficiency measures such as insulation and double glazing.

A database of rogue landlords is being compiled and should be live in April 2018. Local and central government will be able to access the database to find landlords and letting agents with criminal convictions. When assessing a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) licence, rogue landlords who are on the database could have their licence application refused.

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, is planning to appoint a single Housing Ombudsman to replace four current systems. This is designed to improve the dispute resolution system between landlords and tenants.

Tax relief on commercial mortgage interest payments will continue to decrease. In April 2018, it will reduce by 50%, then a further 25% in April 2019 before tax relief is completely abolished in April 2020.

The government wants credit score agencies to include rent payments in reports. This is designed to make it easier for people to get a mortgage, but it could also help landlords who will be able to see if a prospective tenant has had a history of rent arrears.

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