The government has been told to back off its criticism of buy to let landlords and instead do more to address the real cause of the housing crisis - a shortage of homes.
The Residential Landlords’ Association’s policy director David Smith has given evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee - as part of its inquiry into the UK housing market - that it’s the lack of housing, not the number of buy-to-let landlords that is the major crisis facing the UK.
“Unless we address supply radically, there will be no significant change in housing cost. Simply shifting the dynamics so that it is more attractive to owner-occupiers than it is to private landlords does not increase supply; it just moves property around a merry-go-round” Smith told the peers.
“We must increase supply. Everything else, to some extent, is a red herring.”
Smith also used the platform to call on local authorities to release small plots of land that could be redeveloped as housing - 46 per cent of RLA members said they would be interested in helping to fund developments of fewer than 10 units.
In contrast with apparent government thinking, Smith also made an appeal for further reform of Chancellor George Osborne’s three per cent stamp duty surcharge, coming into effect at the end of next week.
“We’d like to see a change to the Stamp Duty Land Tax to give landlords a discount on the three per cent increase when they have done something that brings new-build property on to the market. Where they have invested money in new-build property, thereby increasing the overall supply, hopefully, we think that they should be relieved from the three per cent uplift” explains Smith.