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A national register of rental homes would help stop ‘landlord tax dodging’

The government is being encouraged to consider introducing a national register of rental properties to improve tax compliance in the buy-to-let sector.

Unscrupulous landlords have been accused of tax evasion which could cost the Treasury up to £1.73bn a year.

The accusation has been made by TaxWatch, which claims to be the UK's only charity dedicated to compliance and sound administration of the law in the field of taxation. 


The new figures are revealed in a report by the think tank and suggests that levels of non-compliance have increased sharply over the past decade. 

HMRC has long said that it is targeting tax evasion by buy-to-let landlords but it has failed to publish official figures on the scale of evasion in the PRS since 2010. 

Alex Dunnagan, a researcher at TaxWatch, commented: “Not only is such a staggering amount being lost in tax to the private rented sector, HMRC isn’t even recording the true size of it. 

“By any calculation, the amount uncollected today is far larger than what it was in 2010, despite the government claiming to be cracking down on landlord tax dodging. 

“Introducing a national register of rental properties would be a simple means of improving compliance, and would raise large amounts of money for the government which is desperately needed at this time.”

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Poll: Would you like to see a national register of rental properties introduced?


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    Well I say bring it on if you absolutely insist. Rental property provided by the amateurs will reduce to a quarter of inventory
    If this carries on I’ll be able to buy a yacht soon

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    The tax dodgers will dodge the register like everything else.

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    Tax charity 😂😂😂😂. Sounds a bit pot and kettle to me. Where do these crack pot organisations keep coming from. High rewards for hot air. I’m sure HMRC is well aware of any of the data this so called charity! Is banding around.

  •  G romit

    How does "Tax Watch" have charitable status? What good causes do they perform??
    Sounds like a tax dodge to me!!!

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    • 06 August 2020 15:27 PM

    There are millions of fraudulent rental properties out there.

    A National Register would massively reduce the legal letting stock.
    I'm sure lenders will be highly delighted to be informed by the National Register that their LL client is letting the property to DSS tenants in defiance of the BTL mortgage conditions.

    A National Register would be great news for compliant LL.
    But about 50% of the PRS would disappear.
    2 million illegal immigrants are living somewhere.

    Personally I believe every LL and property should be licenced.
    If you DON'T have a number then you can't let.

    Any who can't obtain a number and let be subject to a RRO.
    That will stop the fraudsters in their tracks.

    Not that I would but I have a property vacant for 2 months now.
    Not allowed to take on DSS tenants.
    I wonder how many LL are now breaching their mortgage conditions which state

    No DSS

  • Bill Wood

    If every landlord was required to be on a register, and it was not required to pay (much) to be put on that register, then lets go for it.
    If the renting public were made aware that the landlord needed to be on a register, and could confirm that the landlord was on thew register, they would be more confident.
    Those landlords not on the register (the dodgy ones that is) would likely lose a lot of there clients. Which is good for us, isn't it!

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    • 06 August 2020 17:58 PM

    I DON'T believe that even this dopey Tory Govt would go for a National Register though effectively that will occur when they require every LL to join a Property Redress Scheme.

    That is a National Register via the back door.

    But currently Govt has other things to deal with.

    What I could see though is Govt devolving a National LL register to Councils.

    But Govt would have to restrict the exorbitant charges Councils try to impose.

    Personally I would have no issue with a LL licence at £100 every 5 years and also the same amount per property.

    If every LL paid that and Govt allowed Councils to retain the fees then they could do away with all the other silly licensing schemes.

    Making it a legal requirement for every LL letting property to have a licence as well as the property would get rid of vast swathes of rental stock.

    Lenders would require many LL to get rid of DSS tenants as mortgage conditions ban these tenant types.

    I'm all for a National LL register.
    But many LL would need to sell up as they won't be able to comply with licence terms.

    This is why there will NEVER be a National LL register.


    I believe DSS tenants cannot now be refused a tenancy just for that reason. So I expect that the Lenders condtion not allowing DSS tenants needs to be ignored. Obviously take legal advice on this.

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    David so you have a good DSS Tenant & I should think so if I was living for free I would be a model Tenant instead of working 7 days a week paying taxes to keep them. I had an Agent approach me today to place a DSS Family but no husband he's over seas, or course I don't believe that he's probably around the corner waiting to get in.
    National Register for all rental properties I would agree with but only if there was a National Register for all tax payers Accounts of every kind, then you will see what your neighbour is not declaring.
    Licensing Schemes I don't agree with especially for houses that don't let rooms & anyway why are Family's exempt usually on DSS and over crowded & speaking as a LL that has all properties licensed most since 2006 + re-licensed every 5 years at huge costs to me with no benefit whatsoever just more encumbrances, HM0 LL letting Rooms for most part is a big energy looser, so your green deals are not much good when Electric Bills are far higher than they should be & as with Gas often double just because LL pays for it,. I have seen heating on winter & Summer the same, just open windows if too hot & take delight that its costing the LL.

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    Perhaps we could have a Public National Register for all DSS claimants to be fair to the tax payer.


    Now wouldn't that be a good idea !

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    I would hope it's a free register. Just like I hoped a register of bad tenants might be available.

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    • 06 August 2020 20:27 PM

    How about this then.

    EVERY tenant to be required to have a Tenant Referencing Passport.

    So no requirement for LL to ever reference again.
    It to be a legal requirement that all TRP are up to date.

    All LL to be registered with tenants able to confirm the LL registration status.

    So ONE TRP is all a tenant would need to show to any new LL.

    Any missing entries or incorrect ones to be considered criminal deception.

    So accurate tenant and LL details.

    Perhaps this will ensure tenants stop being feckless.

    No more rogue tenants or LL!!!


    Nice idea Paul, and would work well, will never happen though .

    Matthew Payne

    A few businesses are already well down this path. Canopy for one, Rightmove another, hence they bought Van Mildert for £20m earlier this year.

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    • 06 August 2020 21:04 PM

    How about this.
    Every tenant to have a TRP managed by Shelter.
    Every tenant to pay Shelter for a TRP.
    Loads of fee income for Shelter with Shelter able to see how many tenants rent default and behave badly.


    Yes Paul, now I 'm on my second large Irish, so that is all for tonight mate.


    How about all tenants pay rent to Shelter. Then Shelter pays all rent to LL. Any shortfall is paid by Shelter.

    This means that Shelter can build a register of all tenants and all LLs, and realise the extent of the social housing bill that private LLs are supporting ie missed rent payments.

    Also Shelter pays for any damage done to the property that is not covered by the deposit.

    Also Shelter pays for any rent due between LL eviction date (S21 - even if the tenant requests eviction) and the tenant actually leaving.

    I'm sure (sarcasm) Shelter would be happy to pay these costs as all tenants are model citizens. The vast majority of tenants and LLs are model citizens, but there is a core of bad tenants and a core of bad landlords.

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    • 06 August 2020 21:41 PM

    Yep appreciate am in the realms of fantasy!!!

    But you can see good LL and tenants wouldn't object.

    But of course we know there are millions of dodgy tenants and hundreds of thousands of dodgy LL.

    None of them would wish for a system as I have suggested.
    Good tenants and LL wouldn't have a problem with such.

    Envious of you on your 2nd Irish.
    I overdid things on the old sauce so now restrict myself to no more than 21 units a week which I rarely attain.

    Off to have a pint............of milk!!!

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    • 10 August 2020 00:07 AM


    I have noticed a tendency of us good LL going on various flights of fantasy.

    I am just as much to blame for these as well as others.

    There is NO way that Shelter or any other agency would accept such responsibilities as you suggest.

    Whilst they will never admit it these agencies know full well the fecklessness of tenants.
    They know these tenants cause massive rent losses to LL who they know have little chance of civil recovery.

    Therefore it is expected that LL take the hit for feckless tenants.
    Empowering LL to receive rent direct via Shelter etc will NEVER occur.

    The losses to the public purse and alleged charities like Shelter would bankrupt them.

    The Govt etc relies on LL taking the financial hit for feckless tenants.

    Feckless tenants cause LL over £9 billion in losses every year.

    I believe this figure includes social tenants as well.

    But make no mistake rent defaulting is in the billions of pounds.

    This is a massive loss of GDP.

    Unfortunately society seems to consider that rent losses caused by feckless tenants is something that private LL should rightly suffer from.

    This attitude that seems to pervade all of society DOESN'T seem to extend to any other business.

    For some reason ripping of LL is deemed as socially acceptable.
    Indeed Govt itself participates in this.

    LL no matter how good they have to accept that is the case and manage their business based on the fecklessness of tenants and the difficulty of getting rid of them and civil recovery of rent arrears.

    The current eviction process fundamentally undermines the viability of letting.

    LL must understand how fundamentally the dysfunctional eviction process damages the BTL business model.

    These circumstances are scheduled to become even worse.
    There will be no assisting LL now or in the future.

    LL should never be surprised by tenant fecklessness.
    It is essential that it is factored into the letting business model.

    Few LL have ever done this and mostly they gamble they won't end up with a wrongun.
    Most LL gamble successfully but significant numbers lose the gamble to feckless tenants.

    Personally I cannot afford the risks anymore so have little choice than to give up being an AST LL.

    Only a fundamental change in the eviction process in cases of rent defaulting would persuade me to stay.

    I am pragmatic enough to know that no Govt would ever facilitate this for LL.

    The cost of feckless tenants to the public purse would be enormous.

    So LL we have to get real.
    We are on our own and no assistance will be forthcoming EVER to combat feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    All lettings need to be considered for viability via this simple prism.

    The question every LL needs to ask themselves for every tenancy they have.
    Can they afford a feckless tenant??
    If not and also not prepared to afford it then really they should stop being LL which is exactly the determination I have made.

    I intend to try to become a lodger LL which is a business model NOT subject to the same risks as the tenant business model.

    I suppose one should add the caveat to the lodger situation that is a case of NOT yet are lodgers on a par with tenants.

    But you wouldn't trust this Govt NOT to give lodgers similar rights to tenants.
    Lets HOPE NOT!!!


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