The Residential Landlords Association has been quick off the mark to issue what it calls a seven point wish list to Chancellor Phillip Hammond to consider ahead of his spring Budget, scheduled for March 8.
Top of the list, perhaps predictably, is the association’s demand for the scrapping of planned changes to mortgage interest tax relief, introduced by former Chancellor George Osborne and scheduled to start a four-year phased implementation this April.
In total, the RLA wants the government:
1. To follow the example of Ireland by scrapping planned changes to mortgage interest relief or, at the very least, applying it only to new borrowing for new purchases in the sector;
2. Waive the three per cent stamp duty additional homes surcharge where a landlord is investing in a new property or refurbishing an empty or converted property that is adding to the housing stock;
3. Remove the anomaly that means that VAT can be reclaimed on goods and services in connection with the construction of a new dwelling when it is intended for owner occupation, but not when it is constructed to let;
4. Encourage landlords to sell properties to sitting tenants by applying the new 20 per cent rate of Capital Gains Tax in such circumstances, supporting the government’s home ownership ambitions;
5. Encourage local authorities and public bodies to identify and sell small plots of publicly-owned land suitable for up to five units of accommodation;
6. Review the financial capabilities of landlords to meet the new energy efficiency requirements coming into force from 2018, making EPC-recommended improvements tax deductible;
7. Provide what it calls “modest funding” to improve access to the private rental sector for the homeless.
“The Treasury Select Committee warned a year ago that measures taken to curb buy to let would come at a cost to the wider economy, and we would ask the government to take heed of this. The time for change is now and we hope the government will take the opportunity to grasp the nettle and rethink some of the unfair tax changes set to have devastating impact on private rental sector landlords” states Alan Ward, RLA chairman.