The online petition opposing the proposed tax changes for buy to let landlords has now reached 35,000 signatures – but is still some way off the target which may trigger a parliamentary debate on the issue.
The tax proposal, outlined by Chancellor George Osborne back in the July Budget, means mortgage interest tax relief for buy to let owners will be restricted to the basic rate of income tax, currently 20%, even if they themselves pay the higher 40 or 45% tax rates.
Osborne says the relief, which will address "unfairnesses in property taxation", will be phased out from 2017.
There had been a strong reaction from the industry against the measure; in addition to the petition there has been the establishment of a ‘SayNoToGeorge’ website outlining how the measure will hit not just landlords but also letting and estate agents, pensioners, tenants and suppliers.
However, the online petition needs 100,000 signatures by the end of January if it is to force the consideration of whether to hold a parliamentary debate.
The success of the petition received a blow in recent weeks when the National Landlords Association’s chief executive described it as "a waste of time" – although he was not actively discourage landlords from signing.
Writing on the online Huffington Post website, Richard Lambert said even surpassing the 100,000 signature mark may sound impressive but meant any subsequent debate by MPs would be “when 'parliamentary time allows' meaning that it could be months down the line, by which point the chance to affect change may well have passed."
You can see the petition here.