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Agents back beefed-up campaign against changes to mortgage tax relief

The campaigners against planned changes to mortgage interest tax relief - set to come into effect from April, phased over four years - have announced a step up in their opposition to the proposals. 

Earlier this year the campaigners failed in their bid to overturn Clause 24 of the 2015 Finance Act, which included the provision to reduce mortgage tax relief for landlords. They claimed that it was allegedly unlawful because of a range of grounds on which owner occupiers had financial and tax advantages unavailable to landlords, and because most small businesses are taxed and allowed to deduct their costs before calculating their taxable profits - denied to landlords under this proposal.

Now the campaigners say they have formalised the loose structure under which, over the past year, different private rental sector groups have opposed the move. 

This means that a formal coalition campaign group is now being set up, consisting of the National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association, Scottish Association of Landlords, Association of Residential Letting Agents and UK Association of Letting Agents.

“Together, these organisations represent more than 150,000 private landlords, who in turn provide homes to more than one million tenants. They also represent the largest number of professional letting agents in the UK” says a message from the campaign organisers, who are operating around the slogan ‘Axe The Tenant Tax.’ 

These organisations have now agreed to wage political opposition to the proposal, including lobbying MPs and government, a PR campaign to heighten awareness amongst landlords and letting agents, and talking with other organisations affected by the change including mortgage providers and other industry opinion formers. 

There will also be an ‘Axe the Tenant Tax Awareness Week’ in April, consisting of PR, political and social media activities to link in with the planned start date of Section 24 on April 5. 

“This is based on a working assumption that the Tenant Tax is not abolished or changed in the March 2017 budget” say the campaigners. 

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    IMO this campaign will not take off nor carry much weight. Although i disagree wholeheartedly with this assault on Landlords it seems the government have chosen their opponent wisely. Media storms of late have criticised government with such things as the bedroom tax and the public have got behind the working parties to lament the "disgusting treatment" of the vulnerable members of our society. Now if you switch the role of vulnerable person to Landlord there will be no pity. Most people believe Landlords live in sprawling estates accessed via tree lined driveways and when 90% of the population feel inferior to the victim then the case is already lost. We as a people often support the little man (and rightly so) however there is no perceived little man in this fight.

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    I agree, these campaigns and articles are just flogging a dead horse!

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    I agree with much of what you say Atomic Pea, but what you are forgetting to take into account is the 4 million+ tenants that are likely to be adversely affected by this raid in one way or another.
    Some tenants will lose their homes as their landlord will sell (as an agent I'm already seeing this happen)

    - Some rents will rise as their landlord needs to cover their increased outgoings, ie higher tax
    - Some rents will rise as their landlord needs to remortgage and the new strict criteria means they need to show a higher rent
    - Overall rents will rise for new tenancies down to the basic economics of supply and demand down to there being less rental properties available
    - Some rents will rise as the mortgage-free landlords decide to cash in on the overall situation of rising rents

    This campaign very much has the potential to turn this around and portray it as it really is - a tax on tenants. After all, they are the ones who will ultimately pick up the bill or have to move to a smaller/less desirable property.

    Mark, do you always roll over so easily ;)

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    Yes Debbie what you are saying is quite right. I agree that costs will be passed on along with further costs as letting agents try and maintain their already tight profit margins. The problem is that as soon as the argument cites that Landlords will pass this costs on they are vilified further and consequently lose more support. Is it unfair on Landlords - Yes. Is it illegal/immoral to pay tax on a loss? - Yes. Do people outside of our industry care? - No.

     
  • Simon shinerock

    In order to change the current dysfunctional political thinking we need the current Government to understand the principles outlined by William J H Boetcker and known as the ten cannots

    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
    You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
    You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
    And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

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