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Autumn Statement - will it help landlords?

Propertymark has set out its stall for next month’s Autumn Statement - and many of the demands are for improvements that will directly benefit landlords.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, will present the Autumn Statement to Parliament on November 22. and the Office for Budget Responsibility has been commissioned to prepare an economic and fiscal forecast to be presented to Parliament alongside the Autumn Statement.

Propertymark is asking for:


Reform of the benefits system: Propertymark believes that the UK Government should use the upcoming Autumn Statement to alleviate the cost of living crisis for many in the following ways:  

Suspension of the Shared Accommodation Rate: Shared Accommodation Rate places a cap on the amount of assistance that can be provided through the benefits system.  Claimants are eligible to receive money to cover the cost of a single room in a shared house with a shared kitchen and bathroom. According to research from the Yorkshire Building Society, under-35s spend two thirds of their weekly expenditure on essentials.  

Uplift of Local Housing Allowance Rate: As the rising costs of energy impacts low-income renters, the UK Government must increase the Local Housing Allowance Rate to the lowest 50th percentile. This will help recipients receive better accommodation.  

Reform of Universal Credit: Like in Scotland, Universal Credit claimants should be free to choose if they want to receive their benefits twice monthly or once a month. Furthermore, to tackle rent arrears, the Universal Credit advance should be transformed into a non-repayable grant from the first day of the claim. The current system causes many people to go into cashflow problems.  

Make homes more energy efficient: Propertymark argues that the UK Government must issue a combination of grants, loans and help with survey costs to incentivise landlords and homeowners. This can help homes become more energy efficient, ensure the UK Government meets its net-zero targets, and reduce long-term costs for homeowners.  

Reversal of Section 24 of the Finance Act: Propertymark is calling on the UK Government to look at landlords as a small business and to allow them to claim 100 per cent of their mortgage interest. When George Osborne removed mortgage interest relief in 2015, the costs for landlords increased significantly and disincentivised the number of people wanting to enter the private rental sector.  

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says: “With a General Election on the horizon, the UK Government have an opportunity to support landlords, tenants and property agents with the impact of the cost of living through welfare reform, bring down energy bills through improving the energy efficiency of homes and reducing the tax burden on landlords and investors to tackle the demand the crisis in the private rented sector.”

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    The problem is that the Government has very little money available to increase public spending and reduce taxation. They have said that already.

    There are some things they could do to help landlords (particularly those who carry out maintenance themselves) which would not cost much like giving a fixed rate allowance for wear and tear - even if that allowance were less than 10%. Digital taxation has been delayed, but it would be very good to simplify tax returns in preparation for that.

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    A lovely list 👌🏻 But as said above, we are bankrupt 🆘💰🆘💰, £8,000,000 a day to house our unwanted or uninvited dingy visitors just adds to the overall malaise in the Uk. We will get NO help, and we need to plan our business on that basis.

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    If the Gov was using the £8 million a day, they are spending on foreigners who are abusing our hospitality whilst never contributing, to help Landlords and English Tenants I can't see we'd have a problem. Time for Johnny Foreigner to be sent home.

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    Some good suggestions.
    Not sure about suspending the shared accomodation rate. It certainly needs attention as UC for single people is hideously low. HMOs usually include at least some bills so the LHA room rate needs to very clear as to what it is supposed to include. The local rate here is £420 a month while most HMO rooms are at least £550. A single unemployed person simply can't make up that shortfall.

    Increasing the LHA to the 50th percentile is unrealistic. The 30th percentile would be fine as long as the BMRAs are geographically small enough. I operate in an area with a BMRA of over 500 square miles and very poor public transport. Tenants have a choice of either funding a large rental shortfall to live somewhere close to jobs or pay similar amounts in travel to work costs. Or be unemployed and just live on handouts.

    UC certainly needs to be reformed to more closely align with reality. Rent payment dates need to match the tenancy agreement. No one pays rent in arrears in the real world. It somehow needs to recognise unusual pay periods. Two of my UC tenants get paid fortnightly, which the UC system simply can't cope with. Twice a year we get a 3 pay day month and it completely destabilises their UC for the following couple of months. Throw into the mix that they are seasonal workers and have a 2 or 3 month Christmas shutdown. They get their holiday pay as a lump sum with their last pay of the year (so lose most of it as NI or UC offset) and are then classed as unemployed until the holiday park reopens in the Spring. They work somewhere around 40 to 44 weeks a year. Any other type of worker would be allowed to have over 5 weeks paid holiday during which time they would be classed as employed. The really bizarre thing is that a term time worker, such as a school dinner person, works fewer weeks a year but isn't classed as unemployed during the school holidays.

    Energy efficiency upgrades need to be fully tax deductable in the year of installation for everyone who is willing to pay for them, both homeowners and landlords. It may initially look like a bung to rich people but it's only by wide scale adoption of new technology that prices start to fall. People on low incomes don't have the ability to gamble on unproven technology.
    Grants and subsidies for insulation need to be more easily available for just about anyone who wants them. I think it needs to be recognised that anyone who hasn't got insulation by now probably has a fairly strong reason for not having it which will be more related to concerns about damp than cost.

    Definitely reverse Section 24. It would make a huge difference to unincorporated portfolio landlords (who provide nearly 50% of PRS properties) and would probably help around half of the smaller landlords. That would result in far less pressure to increase rent beyond general inflation and enable some landlords to remain in the industry. If the government wants to encourage younger landlords into the industry they need to stop removing Child Benefit if someone has the audacity to earn over £50K and reinstate taper relief on CGT. Historically BTL was used as an alternative to a conventional pension. It was far more flexible especially for the self employed. Now a SIPP wins hands down. By dumping money in a SIPP a young person would retain his Child Benefit and get oodles of tax relief. By investing in BTL he would be taxed on turnover, which would catapult him into the 40% tax band (even if the property was making a loss). So he would lose his Child Benefit (even if his real income was way below £50K). Then if he sticks with BTL until he wants to retire maybe 30 years later the government will tax him on the value of the house and take 28% of it's increased value effectively stealing 2 bedrooms worth of value. By the time the CGT is paid from selling a 5 bedroom house he may have enough money left to buy a 3 bedroom one. If he had simply gone for the SIPP he would be sat back drawing his pension in the most tax efficient way possible.

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    As always Jo.
    Total commonsense proposals which will benefit all including Govt ( who aren't listening )

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    The Govt wants us to be professional Then treat us like professionals not criminals and recognise that we are businesses, not landed gentry who have inherited vast estates.


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