The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new measures that help landlords. In a speech titled ‘A Plan for Jobs’, he put forward new policies designed to protect jobs and stave off mass unemployment ahead of the withdrawal of the flagship furlough scheme in October, which has paid 80% of the wages of over 9 million workers since lockdown began.
Stamp Duty Cut
The threshold above which stamp duty must be paid has been raised from £125,000 to £500,000 for properties in England and Northern Ireland. Landlords buying properties under £500,000 will pay only the 3% additional home surcharge, up to the value of £500,000. They will pay 8% on the portion from £500,001 to £925,000. Those buying for their primary residence will pay no stamp duty at all up to £500,000 and only 5% between £500,001 and £925,000.
This is good news for landlords looking to buy properties, as they will now face lower costs. Meanwhile, landlords looking to sell will benefit from lower costs for potential buyers. The change comes into force ‘immediately’, i.e. from 8th July, and is set to last until the end of June 2022.
Green Homes Grant
Also announced was a £2bn pot of grant money to make homes more energy efficient. From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient. The grants will cover at least two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000 per household.
Around 50% of UK carbon emissions are from household energy, and cutting down on household emissions is a key part of the Government’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The fund is also hoped to create ‘green jobs’.
The scheme, which applies in England, is expected to launch in September and connect landlords and homeowners with accredited suppliers near their properties. The grant voucher will be provided by the government once a quote has been given.
With rental properties already needing to meet an energy efficient rating of at least E, and further increases in the minimum standard expected in the coming years, this scheme could help landlords to ensure their properties meet energy efficiency standards and save themselves and their tenants money on their bills.
The Chancellor’s speech contained further support for industries hit hardest by the lockdown, including support for hospitality sector jobs. Landlords with tourism or hospitality accommodation may benefit from a cut in VAT for these industries from 20% to just 5%.
There were more direct measures to keep employment rates high, too. Employers will be paid to create apprenticeships and also be given a £1,000 bonus for bringing back furloughed workers and keeping them on through to January.
More Help for Landlords
If your tenants have been affected by coronavirus, we have several resources that may be useful.
- How to agree a temporary rent reduction
- Pause rent-chasing emails to tenants from OpenRent
- How to agree a rent repayment plan
- Got to Covid-19 guidance hub