As the sector continues to react to yesterday’s White Paper, one leading peer has offered his thoughts on the proposed changes.
On the whole, recent housing policies impacting on the private rental sector, such as clamping down on rogue landlords and longer tenancies, have been welcomed.
However, landlords still fear the tax changes ahead, which could serve to increase rents at a time when the Government has promised more affordable houses to rent.
Steve Bolton, founder of Platinum Property Partners and co-leader of Axe the Tenant Tax coalition, agrees that ‘a fair and affordable rental market is crucial.’
Bolton believes it is encouraging that longer tenancies are being supported, as this will serve to offer peace of mind to both landlords and tenants alike.
He observed: ‘We absolutely need to get more homes built and faster. Improving property supply-both in the homeowner and rental market-is key if we are too slow rising house prices and rents.’
While the Government has committed to increasing the availability of homes in the White Paper, Mr Bolton is fearful that buy-to-let tax changes due to come in force in April could, ‘seriously derail investment in the rental sector.’
Peer slams Government plans for sector as hypocritical
‘The proposed tax changes will hit private landlords’ profitability and inevitably cause some to leave the market altogether, restricting the number of rental homes available,’ he noted. ‘How can the Government say they are committed to improving homeownership and reducing rents while simultaneously introducing a tenant tax that will only result in higher rental costs and therefore making it harder for people to save for a deposit?’
Data in the White Paper shows that 65% of private tenants are happy with their tenure, in comparison to 48% in 2004-05.
Concluding, Bolton said: ‘All the good thinking in the white paper is completely derailed by this hypocritical approach. It’s clear that landlords are providing an essential service – yet they are being squarely punished for it. If the government truly wants to improve homeownership levels, and make renting more affordable for all, they need to abolish this ludicrous tax change sooner rather than later.’