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Call to INCREASE buy to let stamp duty surcharge to four per cent

Three quarters of a million private renters are stuck in the coldest and draughtiest homes, claims the Citizens Advice organisation - and it wants higher stamp duty on buy to let properties to fund improvements.

It claims that to heat their homes to a comfortable standard, tenants in the coldest homes face spending £1,000 more than the national average on their energy bills but are reliant on landlords to make cost-saving improvements.

Citizens Advice also says landlords could be (in its words) “raking in” £242m per month for letting out homes that will be freezing cold in the winter.

Some 750,000 private tenants are thought to be living in over 300,000 properties in England with the worst energy efficiency ratings of F and G. The charity says these renters are twice as likely to suffer from damp than those in any other properties, and may have no access to central heating or storage heaters and little wall insulation.

The Energy Act 2011 introduced a legal requirement for all rented properties to have an energy efficient rating of at least Band E by 2020. All new tenancies must meet Band E standards by 2018.

Citizens Advice says the government should make landlords carry out improvements costing less than £5,000 that will take homes up to the minimum Band E standard. It also says a new fund - paid for by the stamp duty levy - could be set up to help landlords pay for more expensive improvements.

Citizens Advice also proposes setting up a new energy improvement fund to help landlords with improvements costing more than £5,000. 

This fund would be paid for by increasing the stamp duty levy on buy to let homes to four per cent. It says this would raise over £200m to be used for efficiency improvements. 

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    Shelter I can understand. Same goes for Generation Rent and Crisis. But Citizens Advice?

    They should be neutral and a service for ALL citizens...landlords included.

    My agency is opposite the local Citizens Advice and not only did they turn away a landlord who had a problem with a tenant who went seeking advice, they suggested they cross the road to my office to help them as 'they don't help landlords' and 'they (as in me) will probably help you.'

    Unbelievable.

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    As a Landlord you can afford to pay for advice. Going to a charity for free advice on how to make money is disgusting.

     
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    This is a reply to Alan Newman. Why do you make the assumption that landlords have money and tenants don't? I have tenants that earn a great deal more than me. Then of course there's the numerous cases where a tenant does immense damage to a property and the landlord has to pay for it. I've lost track of the times I've heard stories where people have put every penny they had into buying a house, spending a small fortune on it and then the tenants trash it and run off paying rent. The fact is that you need to realise that landlords are not the rich people you think they are. I do of course realise that you'll never open your mind to the truth, it doesn't suit you to look into facts and you probably just blame the world because you feel it owes you a living.

     
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    This is a reply to John McKay. Anyone with enough assets to secure a b2l mortgage or own property to rent out has more wealth than a large proportion of the population. You're too closed minded to read this academic article which shows facts of you want them http://www.strategicsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lord-C-Lloyd-J-and-Barnes-M-2013-Understanding-Landlords.pdf

     
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    I have had the same - the minute you say you are a landlord they say they cannot help you. It is their policy. It's incredible - they will help criminal tenants who owe thousands and who have no excuse for not paying - my worst offenders have been in good jobs and simply decided not to pay the rent for months on end, but they treat landlords like we are the anti-Christ. They are therefore obviously extremely and systemically prejudiced against landlords. Do they turn away other business people, saying they don't help 'shop keepers' if someone has conned them out of thousands of pounds for example?

    Just like the Green Party's outrageous manifesto idea that landlords should be taxed on their main cost - picked up by Osborne, enshrined in law and already causing chaos in the PRS - these ideas come with no analysis of the consequences. Continually attacking landlords and expecting them to pick up the bill for everything is going to lead to thousands exiting the market and many more completely stopping any expansion just when more rental homes are needed. All of these combined are going to lead to massive rent increases, evictions and homelessness. All of these organisations interfering in landlords' businesses will be responsible for causing misery to so many tenants. They should stop talking about things they don't understand.

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    Well said Rebecca

    If tenants did not keep getting off with recking properties and not paying the rent, so easy to go bankrupt with C A help pay £90 and thats it. The money saved a landlord could use to improve the properties.
    Do they not know how disheartening it is to let a lovely property and have it returned in a complete state. To evict months via the courts and then they leave the landlord to get rid of all their crap.
    It works both ways tenants should be held responsible for their actions and all costs should be recouped from them.
    Is it fair that gas water elect and the Council tax can be taken out of benefits as a third party deduction but not available for landlords.
    Council tax they get locked up for but the money landlords lose if many times this amount put at 7000 average

     
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    I have a lovely young lady tenant - a Polish girl. Whilst she has her own cleaning business she also works evenings and is a volunteer at CAB. She tells me that they currently get several people an hour coming through the office door complaining of homelessness and when I explained the full implications of S24 on homelessness she physically recoiled. She can't believe that the British Government would do such a crazy thing.

    So... the organisation has an enormous issue with homelessness. Why do they think that restricting landlords buying (because that is what a further raise of SDLT will do) will help people keep a roof over their heads??? They seem to be more concerned with those that have one. Now don't misunderstand me, if these people they are referring to are living in sub-standard accommodation then the issue needs to be addressed, BUT they do have a roof over their heads. And to be honest I really don't believe they're spending more than £1000 a year on the National average! It's a huge amount. I would like to see proper independent case studies of these alleged cases. Frankly CAB I think you're telling porkies.

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    First of all CAB should be neutral and help every citizen. There are many elderly people reliant on rents to enable them to survive, especially as people have to wait longer for their pensions.
    Second, tenants are not chained to the property. They can move out and look for better accommodation, pr change their energy suppliers . So again what's CAB talking about?
    Third how will putting up the slab tax on BTL encourage landlords to invest when they are already shelling out money for tax?
    Fourth - for heavens sake, go live in Norway to see what cold is? Most of the UK does not have cold winters anymore; the forecast for my west midland city is +16C today at the end of October! No one I know hes even thought of putting on any heating - rich or poor, landlord or tenant!

    So sad to see CAB handing out such nonsense! So sad indeed.

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    Well said! Landlords are forever looking for unmodernised properties to bring into the 21st century. Hitting them with even more tax makes it harder to do so.

     
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    I too have been turned away by Citizens Advice. Scandalous that an organisation there to help all can be allowed to exclude a large sector of society.
    When a tenant complained to CAB about the dreadful state of the property CAB wrote and then phoned to remonstrate with me but totally ignored the fact that the tenant was six months behind in rent, refusing to even discus the problem with the tenant.
    Landlords should be aware that CAB do not have the funds to prosecute landlords and as such can be ignored - always provided that you have the moral high ground.

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    Unquestionably landlords are descriminated against by CAB regularly and now we are being descriminated against by HMRC by not being able to offset the full mortgage interest loans unlike every other businesses in the UK. This clause 24 or tenant tax will cause much more homelessness and poverty for tenants who will be forced to live in more poor energy efficient accommodation than they say they do currently as beleaguered landlords sell up making good tenants homeless. Getting landlords to pay more in stamp duty means there is less money left to renovate older properties to bring them up to standard. This article is a load of rubbish.

  • David OConnor

    The tory party is no longer the party for the aspirational middle classes they want rental properties to be owned by old money (no mortgage required) or institutional investors (because these are so much more efficient! NOT!).
    Let’s hope they wake up soon as these policies are wrong on every level! As everybody loses, accept the super rich.

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    If you were truly aspirational you'd come up with a more inventive way of making money than using your advantageous financial position to make money from those less well off and unable to afford to buy because they're paying rent to you. The sooner the Spiv class is gotten rid of the better.

     
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    Alan

    You are talking out of what you should be sitting on so shut it and sit on it.

     
  • Barry X

    I agree with Luke P's comment above - exactly so.

    Nearly all charities turn out to be more political and meddling once they've been going for long enough and become big enough to forget what it was they were supposed to be doing in the first place. Most government agencies start out that way and seem to think it they're raison d'etre. Let's not even *start* talking about the "neutrality" of the BBC (I call them the ant-British Broadcasting Company) with their highly (obviously left-wing) political bias and endless peddling of propaganda and, well, lies.

    My mother was a volunteer for Citizen's Advice Bureau for a few years. Much as I love my mother I can't say I was impressed with some of what she was doing - very well intended though it was - for the CAB..... she was untrained and unqualified to give advice about tenancies or the law and everything was based mainly on prejudice and guesswork plus interpretation now and then of a few very generalised, vague and covertly politisised CAB leaflets. I was appalled at some of the advice she gave then told me about, e.g. some tenants who'd damaged a property, owed rent and left without giving notice (and apparently either abandoning some furniture of theirs or leaving it there for "storage" in the hoe of being able to come back for it later if a friend with a car could help them move it). My mother took pity on them because they were a "young couple" and in her opinion they had just been "silly" which, being all heart, she felt obviously anyone could be.... told them not to worry about the damage they'd done, even though they admitted it to her and said it had been a concern to them, because "the landlord would have trouble proving it was them", and not to worry about the furniture or fact they hadn't even cleaned the flat because "nobody would be moving in for a while anyhow so it shouldn't matter" and as for not giving notice "the landlord should accept that anyone can make a mistake and they'll know better next time".

    I think however that if the landlord had gone to see her and been wearing scruffy clothes and looking sad she might have felt sorry for him (if he was lucky, and even though he was a landlord) and given very different advice for the same situation!

    Oh well.

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    I have been a landlord for thirty years and in that time I have had my fair share of nasty (and I choose my word carefully) tenants. I've had an attempted suicide, domestic violence, faeces in drawers, theft, unpaid rent and filth, filth, filth. These are the wonderful characters that CAB stands up for. I could go on and on.

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    Yes I would like it to be recognised as a criminal offence way the houses are trashed and non payment of rent is theft

     
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    @Alan Newman, why do you have this attitude of trying to drag successful people down, rather than trying to help the less fortunate up ?
    I'm a landlord and I got here by bloody hard work and doing without - no holidays for years, no drinking, smoking or going out frivolously and living with my in-laws - I saved every penny I could until I had enough for a deposit.
    I now don't live the life of Riley - I charge less than the market rent as I want my tenants to stay long term and that also means that I talk to my tenants frequently to make sure that everything is OK, I deal with any problems as fast as possible. I spend several hours every week keeping up with the changes in legislation and good practise. I'm on call 24 x 7 to deal with silly issues, such as tenants locking themselves out and should I eventually sell my property, I'll have to pay capital gains tax.
    It seems to me that Landlords are simply an easy target - I noticed in the recent shelter report about some people being unable to pay their rent, that the landlord is blamed, rather than the employer who pays minimum wage on a zero hours contract, the Government that doesn't build enough houses to meet demand (and thus lower prices), the Council that sold off all the social housing and hasn't replaced it or the Universities who have no limit on student intake and whose students hoover up much property.

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    Well said David, I have spent years rebuilding properties that no one else would touch. It costs in time, money and worry. I then rent the property at less than the market rate, obey all rules from government, and councils, treat my tenants with the respect due to a fellow human. why then are people like me vilified for being constructive. I could invest the money I have worked hard for in something other than property but I 'know" property and see the improvements I make as a more constructive force than buying shares.
    Between the lines Mr Newman is articulating two ethical problems
    1/ what to do with the money you have that is beyond that which you need to exist.
    2/ how to manage society so the basic needs of accommodation, food, and heat are available to all without higher than reasonably affordable costs.

    Only more council owned property that is kept in public ownership can resolve the hotly contested issue of the rise of the buy to let landlord........nothing else !
    With all this brexit nonsense going on I do not know what Mrs May thinks about giving some thought to a massive building plan for state owned rented property. If this change was made Mr Newman and others of his view would have an option and never to need a home from the private sector again.

    I suggest using your vote.

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