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Stamp duty change "causing confusion and uncertainty" in rental sector

A leading lettings expert says George Osborne’s proposed stamp duty surcharge of three per cent may be just weeks from implementation but it is still causing “confusion and uncertainty” in the private rental sector.

Ben Evans, managing director of FleetMilne Property, a lettings consultancy operating in central Birmingham, says putting up barriers to property investment is not going help the scores of would-be rental tenants searching for homes in his area. 

“For years now, central Birmingham has been characterised by a lack of rental stock and the city desperately needs new apartments to meet demand.  At present, it is no exaggeration to say we could potentially let every property to four or five different parties.

“If investors are deterred from purchasing new properties because of onerous SDLT payments making their investment unviable, new rental stock simply will not become available to the extent that it needs to in order to meet ongoing demand, and rents will continue to rise as a result.  

“Even though we are just weeks away from the changes to SDLT being implemented, there is still confusion and uncertainty within the sector, and the imminent increase continues to create more questions than answers” he claims.

Evans says he has seen a flurry of activity as investors have tried to beat the April 1 surcharge deadline. Apartments, even in central Birmingham, are often relatively low-cost.

“Overnight, the SDLT on a £250,000 property purchased for buy to let will increase from £2,500 to a massive £10,000” he says. 

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