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Housing minister claims buy to let tax changes will "create a fairer system"

Housing minister Brandon Lewis has backed the raft of measures seen by many as anti-buy to let, including the restriction on mortgage interest tax relief for landlords, on  the curtailed wear and tear allowance and on the three per cent stamp duty surcharge.

In an question and answer session with FT.com yesterday, Lewis - seen by many as one of the best-informed housing ministers of recent years - was asked:

“Why does the government want to cut down on landlords and how much do you think the recent measures against them (cuts to mortgage relief etc) will reduce the number of buy to let owners?”

Lewis responded:

“The changes create a fairer system where buy to let investors do not have as much advantage over owner occupiers (who will not have 0 per cent mortgages or the mortgage tax relief, which buy to let had). Plus institutional investment [Build To Rent] will be able to continue to grow, and I fully support the professionalism of the sector as it grows with more institutional investment.”

Also during the Q&A session, Lewis was also asked whether he would back a public database of so-called rogue landlords. The minister’s response was:

“Our Housing and Planning Bill currently in the House of Lords will introduce bigger fines and banning orders as part of the biggest crackdown on rogue landlords by any government ever. And we will introduce a database of rogue landlords.”

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    He should have been asked: 'Please present the evidence that institutional rentals are preferable to 'individual' ones. (he won't be able to, as the evidence points the other way) Also, explain what you mean by 'professionalising' the industry - do you mean by charging massively higher rents? How does this help the tenants of the UK? Are you aware, for example, that in the student rental sector, institutions can charge up to 3 times what individuals charge and that through your state aid to institutions, whilst you penalise 'individual' landlords, you are going to put students (who will then become young professionals) into a situation of loads more debt - after University this will continue to accrue if 'individual' landlords have been driven out of business, and the 'dream' you think everyone has of owning their own home (even when they are students) will be further and further out of their reach?
    The problem with some of these interviews by journalists is that they don't know enough to probe and challenge the patent nonsense being spewed by politicians.

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    Sadly just about all members of the press do not know the questions to ask or what the reply should be and how well the interviewee qualifies the answer. Many years ago Mike Dicken (hope that's how to spell his name) was an expert in asking and then challenging the answer to ensure clarity. We need a few more of these clever people.

     
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    We written Rebecca perhaps the associated press should enlist your help in a top 10 questions to put to these jumped up buffoons. all the conservative government want to do is to stop the man in the street making something of himself but bolster the coffers of the tax dodging institutions that probably fund most of the government.

     
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    It's all smoke and mirrors Rebecca with BL coming up with rubbish to deflect people from the truth. Firstly it's all a tax grab (my own Conservative MP confirmed this) and they want the higher rents as the many of the institutions that are coming into the market have contributed significantly to the Conservative party.

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    Couldn't agree more John and also when all these MP's retire they end up with seats on the boards of the companies I think the phrase is nest and feathering :-)

     
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    Brandon Lewis would not know a "fairer system" if it punched him in the face. Any policy that leads to higher rents which the new tax rules must, is not fair on the tenants...........have we forgotten them?

    Where are these 0% BTL mortgages available?
    I think you will find 25% is a realistic minimum for BTL mortgage lenders, where-as buyers who will be living in the property they purchase will find a variety of lenders and schemes to bring the
    deposit down to as little as 5%.
    The current Uk housing shortage (supply and demand) is partially caused by Mrs Thatcher under whom the building of council housing virtually ceased, never to start again in any meaning full way.
    Any government could help the housing shortage by reducing the right to buy scheme rather than expanding it, whilst building as many council owned properties as possible and renting them at 2/3rds the market rate. At this level Local councils would still make a profit and the private landlord would have proper competition on
    quality and price.....job done !

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