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Agents’ chief to stick up for landlords at influential policy forum

Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, will explain how investment in the private rented sector can be better incentivised when he speaks at the Westminster Social Policy Forum this week.

The forum will bring together MPs and senior government officials with property sector stakeholders to discuss the way forward following the publication of the government’s ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper at the start of the summer.

“Private landlords are important housing providers, but it's a common misconception that all of them are wealthy. We know almost half of individual landlords rent out just one investment property and many rely on that income” explains Douglas.


“I look forward to discussing with delegates how future policy can be designed to ensure landlords and agents keep providing tenants with a place to live and to present the case on behalf of our member agents for a review and reforms of relevant parts of the tax system that we believe can help achieve that.”

Propertymark research has already provided evidence of the rate at which the private rental sector has been shrinking and the effect of recent tax changes and proposed UK-wide reform have had on its members’ landlords.

It welcomes the revised Stamp Duty thresholds and is calling on the new Prime Minister and Chancellor to consider going even further and give a 12-month exemption from additional Stamp Duty on purchases of buy to let properties to stimulate supply of homes to rent. 

The introduction of additional SDLT rates are considered by Propertymark member letting agents to have had the most significant impact on the sector.

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    The biggest by far issue with all these individual issues is trust !! I just do not trust this government to not bring in some emergency legislation like Scotland has…. When you lose trust, how can you continue in that business with any confidence ? So I am out.

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    All landlord taxes need to be fair and proportionate.
    Ultimately if landlord taxes go up rent also goes up. Maybe not immediately but if landlords are going to exist there has to be a financial point to doing so.

    We are the only industry in the UK that can't deduct finance costs as a business expense before determining our profit and taxable income. That artificially pushes people into the 40% higher rate tax band and denies younger landlords their Child Benefit even though on a traditional profit calculation method their genuine real world profit may not exist at all.

    The biggest help would be to abolish Section 24 and reclassify property rental as a business activity not investment income. Some of us do a great deal of the work involved in running our properties. Why should it be treated as a hobby if I repaint a bedroom in a rental property while it is treated as work for a painter and decorator?

    CGT needs to be reformed. Many people own BTLs as a form of pension. In a traditional pension they would have received tax relief on pension contributions, stock market growth on the funds held within the pension and tax efficient ways of receiving the pension when the time comes. Also their pension funds are held outside their estate so not subject to IHT.
    A great many of us bought BTLs while taper relief existed with the intention of selling them when we wanted to retire. That was then snatched away from us and BTL properties are now subject to the super enhanced, higher than any other asset rate of 28% CGT. Even though it's one of the only assets that can't be sold off in nice annual CGT efficient bundles. Rental income is classed as unearned investment income so can't even be paid into a SIPP and get tax relief on the contributions other than on £2880 a year. How is that supposed to be sufficient to fund a retirement?

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    Good on him for speaking up but he's wasting his breath, no one there will be listening or be the least bit interested.


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