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Tax incentives for rental sector - top agent’s plea to Chancellor

A prominent agent and former RICS residential chairman has made an impassioned plea to the government to help the private rental sector in tomorrow’s Budget, possibly through tax incentives.

Jeremy Leaf, who runs his own agency in north London, says: “I would like to ask Jeremy Hunt (apart from trying to stabilise the economy and ease the cost-of-living crisis): please do something to increase the supply of good quality, energy-efficient homes to rent and buy. 

“Greater availability of these will keep longer-term rents and prices in check so we don’t want the Chancellor to do anything which may reduce, or compromise, present activity levels.”


And he continues: “We would like to see landlords incentivised, perhaps with nil-rate VAT to help them meet energy efficiency standards as part of a drive towards more retro-fitting and net zero, provided tenants can be accommodated while works are in progress. 

“More needs to be done to encourage buy to let landlords to stay invested and reduce the number who are leaving the sector. Perhaps this could be achieved by re-introducing mortgage interest tax relief and re-adjusting stamp duty thresholds to coincide with the Rental Reform Bill becoming law.


On the sales side, Leaf says he wants greater encouragement for aspiring first-time buyers who would then release their current rental properties to increase stock, soften rent rises and improve standards. 

“Increased buyer/seller, landlord/tenant activity is not only good for the property industry but for the rest of the economy as well, due to its positive 'multiplier' impact on so many other businesses” he insists.

Leaf also urges Chancellor Jeremy Hunt - whose Budget is scheduled for lunchtime tomorrow - to enforce higher penalties for leaving land or buildings empty, “to ensure we make better use of the accommodation we already have.” 

And he suggests expediting council tax revaluation “so we're all paying our fair share” with higher charges for holiday homes applied more equitably. 

He adds that easing planning restrictions, particularly for SME builders on smaller sites, would increase delivery and specifically improve first-time buyer accessibility. Introducing a Help to Buy replacement for first-time buyers, which is not regarded as 'Help to Sell' by developers, would also be beneficial.


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