The aurora borealis was visible in many parts of the UK this week, truly a beautiful and breath taking phenomenon.
The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer.
~ Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
As this is the October week I have been spending a time with the young man in my life, who is loving high school so much that this week off has given him mixed feelings because he wants to be at school, but wants to be able to sleep in!
Change to EPC proposals announced – FINALLY!
The Scottish Government has announced updated proposals for introducing a minimum EPC standard in the private rented sector (PRS). Previous proposals to require a standard of D from 2022 will now not be taken forward in recognition of the significant impact on the sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead, the government intends to introduce a requirement for PRS properties to have an EPC rating of C at change of tenancy from 2025. All PRS properties will then be required to reach a minimum standard of C by 2028. Exemptions will be available for properties where it is not technically feasible or cost effective to reach that standard.
The government intends to consult during 2022 on requiring all properties in Scotland, regardless of tenure, to meet an EPC standard of C, together with a proposed all-tenure zero emissions heat standard and any legislation needed to underpin this.
As a member of the government’s working group set up in 2013 to develop proposals for regulating energy efficiency in private sector housing, the Scottish Association of Landlords has been representing landlords from the outset and are pleased that the government has listened to concerns about introducing a minimum standard from 2022 and will continue to engage with the government as they draft regulations and guidance for the introduction of a minimum EPC standard and will keep members updated with any developments
Scotland’s students face accommodation ‘nightmare’
John Blackwood, SAL chief executive said: “We are seeing a chronic shortage of private rented accommodation across Scotland, partly as a result of landlords leaving the sector over the past couple of years which has reduced supply.
In addition, landlords warned the government in 2017 that an unintended consequence of the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) could be a reduction in accommodation available to students as landlords were no longer able to offer fixed-term leases which matched with term times. As a result, properties which landlords would hold back and market specifically for students are now rented by people as their primary home on a longer-term basis. One of the key aims of the PRT has been achieved but it is students who are suffering.”
Making Tax Digital postponed
Under new HMRC rules, landlords with a turnover above £10,000 will have to keep financial records digitally using specialist software and send HMRC quarterly updates on their tax affairs. This is under reforms to tax return requirements termed “Making Tax Digital” (MTD).
HMRC has recently announced that the introduction of this requirement will be postponed for a year. MTD for Income Tax will now be mandated for businesses and landlords with a business income over £10,000 per annum in the tax year beginning on 6 April 2024.
You can learn more about MTD, who needs to comply and see a list of compatible software packages on the government website here.
Tenant grant fund launched
Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced that it would introduce a new £10 million grant fund to support tenants who are struggling as a direct result of the pandemic. It has now been announced that councils will oversee the distribution of this grant funding, which will be available from now until the end of March 2022.
Any tenants in the private or social rented sector who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and need help to avoid eviction should contact their local authority housing department to discuss their circumstances. There is no application process to use for the grant funding. Instead, local authorities will use their discretion to determine whether a grant payment is appropriate in individual circumstances.
Now that Scotland has moved beyond level zero of covid restrictions, can we do open house viewings to multiple groups of prospective tenants?
The government’s guidance on house moves continues to recommend arranging initial viewings virtually in the first instance, restricting physical viewings to appointment only and avoiding open house viewings. The government’s guidance can be found here.
Today is a day for the park after having a lazer quest day, a bowling day and a lazy day. Please email into firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries or issues and although the office is still pivoted and the team working from their homes our office number 0141 221 3990 is still active and taking calls.
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0141 221 3990
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