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'Hands off Buy to Let' mortgage chief tells the government

Another prominent mortgage chief has called on the government to show its support for the private rental sector by repealing some proposed tax changes. 

Laura Lamb, director of The Mortgage Company, has written in the Mortgage Finance Gazette that she wants to see the removal of the three per cent stamp duty surcharge on additional homes.

She says sales of buy-to-let mortgages have dropped sharply since stamp duty changes were introduced in April - just as research shows there is a shortage of homes in the letting sector. 

"My business has seen a sharp decline in the number of clients buying to let and also doing let to buy. Some may attribute this to Brexit but it is my opinion that most of this is due to the massive changes in the buy to let regulation and taxation" writes Lamb.

"There is always going to be a need for rented properties, whether you live in one on a short-term basis or more long term. Punishing investors who own one or two properties that simply want to plan for their retirement and offer reasonable rents to good tenants is not the answer" she insists. 

She says the three per cent stamp duty surcharge should be aimed at those owning more than three buy to let properties, instead of just one, so that professional landlords would bear the burden of the extra tax - instead of, as now, amateur landlords.

"Responsible lending is very important and I fully support that but stress-testing mortgage rates at 5.5 per cent interest rates with a rent cover of 145 per cent is just ridiculous and will massively limit lending" Lamb warns. 

"I would ... focus more attention on offering more assistance to those trying to buy. The government has introduced the Help to Buy ISA but it’s only available if you are purchasing a property under £250,000. Most first-time buyers in London and the south are looking at purchase prices in excess of this so they instantly lose out" she concludes. 

Yesterday we reported that David Copland, the new deputy chairman of Association of Mortgage Intermediaries and director of TMA mortgage club, wanted the Autumn Statement in two weeks' time to be used to introduce new policies to help the private rental sector. 

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