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Landlords Could Be Taxed Out Of The Market

Landlords Could Be Taxed Out Of The Market

Conservatives Set About Raising Increased
Tax Revenue From Landlords

Before the general election the Conservatives were the only political party to not openly target landlords and property investors with manifesto rhetoric, making them the property professional’s choice for power.

Even before the budget statement was delivered by Mr Osborne, there was plenty of press coverage about the generous tax treatment enjoyed by private rental sector (PRS) landlords and buy to let property investors.

So it was of little surprise that the Chancellor chose to turn to the private rental sector in order to raise some additional revenue for the government.

Conservatives Vowed To Leave PRS Landlords AloneSpotlight predicted that this would happen after the Conservatives were elected, and this year’s summer budget could be just the tip of the iceberg.

George Osborne before the  summer 2015 budget announcement George Osborne’s post election Budget announcement, made earlier in July, contained two  important changes to buy-to-let taxation that will impact on portfolio landlords and higher rate  tax payers.

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Rent_or_Buy_Property

Number of tenants Renting Property Set To Overtake Number of Home Owners By 2025

 

Renting To Overtake Home Ownership By 2025

According to a new prediction from the professional services network – Price Waterhouse Cooper, (PwC), the number of tenants in rented properties will outnumber the overall number of property owners with mortgages in less than a decade.

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Budget Targets Landlords

Budget Targets Landlords

Was The Budget Really That Much Of A Surprise?

The first Conservative budget for 20 years was expected to be good for Britain; however, the reality was not what many landlords wanted to hear.

The decision to target private rental sector landlords and property investors wasn’t too much of a surprise, as the Government can plainly see where the profits are being made and they, like all the rest of the political parties, want a slice.

On the run up to the general election in May 2015 every other political party openly stated that they intended to target landlords, whilst the conservatives remained quiet, prompting a few political commentators to predict that policies would be introduced surreptitiously that would effectively put money into Government coffers.

That’s exactly what we got last week!

The key points that affect landlords from George Osborne’s budget statement include:

Benefit Cap Lowered To £20,000 (GBP)

The total amount of benefits a family can receive over the course of a year has been reduced from £26,000 (GBP) to £20,000 (GBP) – (£23,000 in London).

This is a particular concern for landlords as any loss of income from the reduced benefit cap will hit tenants’ housing benefit first.

Many private rental sector landlords are now worried about increased rent arrears and the probability that many areas of the UK will become unaffordable for large families to live in.

The Government have said that they will allocate £800 Million (GBP) of discretionary housing payments for councils to help affected tenants.

Housing Benefit Abolished For Under-21s

From April 2017 the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds will be scrapped for new claimants.

Exceptions will be made for vulnerable young people, including those unable to return to their family home and claimants who were in work for six months prior to making a claim.

Working-Age Benefits Frozen For Four Years

The freeze means Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will fall further behind inflation as the chancellor seeks to stop the housing benefit bill soaring with increasing rents.

Buy To Let Landlord Mortgage Relief Cut

In a £2bn tax bombshell, from April 2017 landlords will no longer be able to claim tax reliefs worth 40% or 45% of the interest payments on their buy-to-let mortgages. Instead, the maximum tax relief will be set at 20%, although the change will be introduced over a four-year period.

Effectively it looks as though 40%/45% taxpayers will only get around half of their mortgage interest (and arrangement fees) offset against their rental income.

20% taxpayers shouldn’t see much change as all mortgage relief will be limited to the basic rate of income tax.

The effect of this will be staged meaning that

  • 25% of this extra tax will be payable on profits made in the April 2017 – April 2018 tax year,
  • 50% in April 2018 – April 2019,
  • 75% in April 2019 – April 2020
  • 100% in April 2020 – April 2021 meaning that the full effect of this change won’t be felt until the January 2022 personal tax bill is due.

Despite the staged introduction many PRS landlords have warned that this could see costs passed on to tenants in the form of higher rents.

Wear And Tear Allowance Tightened

Landlords will have to prove they have improved or maintained their rental property before they can deduct the costs from their taxed profits.

Currently, landlords can deduct 10% of the rent from their profits to account for wear and tear regardless of whether they have improved the property or not.

From April 2016 this is set to be replaced by a new system that only allows landlords to get tax relief when they replace furnishings.

Changes To Non-Domicile Rules

This change in entitlement could affect property investment and buy to let, particularly in London as people born in the UK to parents domiciled here will not be able to inherit non-dom status and people will not be able to have permanent non-dom status.

Anyone resident in the UK for 15 of the last 20 years will have to pay full UK tax.

Rent A Room Tax Free Income Threshold Raised

After 18 years, the Rent A Room tax free income threshold is being raised to £7,000 (GBP) per year. There are an estimated 19 million empty bedrooms in owner-occupied properties in England alone. Freeing up just 5% of those rooms would accommodate 1 million people. This move will also fuel the growth in short, informal lets such as the type offered by Airbnb and the like.

The tax reliefs that have been cut by Mr Osborne were hugely important for landlords in being able to offset other astronomic property costs such as lettings agent fees, landlord insurance, maintenance and repairs costs, as well as council tax.

It is still early days and we need to see how HMRC will implement some of these changes, because they may also try to find additional ways to stop property investors and landlords from profiting from property, however, there are ways to get around some of the changes introduced, including:

Tax Relief

Limited (Ltd) companies appear to be excluded from the mortgage relief cuts meaning that property investors and landlords could potentially look to purchase their future investment properties through Ltd companies.

Buy To Let mortgage lenders could become more open to this method of purchasing properties similar to the way that commercial lenders already facilitate.

Landlords who already own properties personally or in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) may want to transfer them to a Limited (Ltd) company; however, they will be subject to capital gains tax and stamp duty.

An alternative method to transfer property ownership whilst retaining the current mortgage would be by using a deed of trust, which would transfer the beneficial ownership to a Ltd company. A good solicitor can draw one of these up for you.

Property investors and landlords could also switch their focus slightly and purchase more properties that need refurbishments.

As long as the property is in a habitable condition when purchased but still needs redecoration and comes into the lettings market before the refurb is done, most repairs such as kitchens, bathrooms, paint etc can be offset against all property income from a whole rental portfolio.

Bird_OldLadyWe will always try to keep our sector alive and rents affordable as we are providing services to people who need them, we don’t set out to rip people off, we’re not politicians, we are the ones who take the financial risks, we’re the people who provide housing and it’s our name on the deeds not yours.

You see Mr Osborne, whilst you may think that you are being clever and are tapping in to wealth generated by other people’s hard work and risk taking, well, we as landlords won’t be beaten!

What Does The Future Really Hold For PRS Landlords?

What Does The Future Really Hold For PRS Landlords?

Are PRS Landlords Any Better Off
After The Election?

UK private rental sector landlords may have breathed a sigh of relief after the general election results were announced last week, but is the future still rosy for the PRS?

Conservatives Vowed To Leave PRS Landlords AloneThe Conservatives may have been voted into Government by a small majority over the other political rivals, but will all the election promises be kept or is it more likely that we will see additional legislation concerning rent caps, longer tenancies and changes to tenant’s rights being introduced via other means?

The way I see it, the future under a Conservative Government will be no different from the experiences of the last 5 years.
The main targets will still be PRS landlord’s and letting agents and the victims will always be the tenants.

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NLA Publishes Landlords At A Glance Guide To Voting

NLA Publishes Landlords At A Glance Guide To Voting

NLA Makes It Easier For Landlords To Vote
With At A Glance Guide To Main Political Party Manifestos

The National Landlords Association (NLA) have decided to make it a bit easier for floating landlord voters who may not have decided who they intend to vote for yet, by compiling a short at a glance guide to where each political party stands on key policies related to property ownership in the UK private rental sector and landlord life.
As we published on Spotlight yesterday, every political party have their own views on each of the following measures:

  • Rent Control
  • Longer Tenancies
  • Landlord Licensing
  • Landlords’ Register
  • Letting Agent Fees
  • Landlord Tax

Tomorrow is polling day in the UK (7th May), so if you haven’t already decided which of the political parties should get your vote as a landlord and business owner, the National Landlords Association has decided to make it a bit easier for floating landlord voters by compiling a helpful guide to where each of the main political parties stand on key landlord and property related policies.

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Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

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Politicians Want PRS Control

Politicians Want PRS Control

Labour Announces Further PRS Controls

The Labour party leader, Ed Miliband, has announced his party’s plans to reform the private rented sector (PRS), with longer term tenancies and rent cap proposals, should they win the May general election.

Labour have been at the forefront of the PRS reform movement for some time, campaigning for longer term tenancies for tenants in the private sector and now the political party leaders want to introduce even more legislation that would effectively cap rental prices so they cannot be increased by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during the proposed secure three-year tenancies.

The PRS control proposals were supposed to win the hearts and minds of the 9.1 Million households currently living in private rented sector properties, however even tenant campaign groups can see that these new proposals have more holes in them than an old Swiss cheese.

The introduction of new legislation that Labour are proposing would require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rental prices charged to any previous rented property occupants, allowing tenants to have the upper hand in negotiating the best possible rental price with landlords, before the start of a new tenancy.

Do TESCO provide customers with information concerning the actual purchase price that they pay for items before they sell them on at a huge profit, do they reveal operational profit margins – No they don’t!
Prices fluctuate as do operational costs, why should landlords be singled out for special measures when other business sectors are left alone?

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Labour Manifesto Aims To Change PRS Forever

Labour Manifesto Aims To Change PRS Forever

Labour’s PRS Rent Control And Tenure Plans Under Attack

Labour’s manifesto confirms their plan to introduce 3 year tenancies and a ceiling on excessive rent rises in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS).

Previous Government’s have tried introducing rent controls and the result discouraged the building of new homes as well as reducing more financial investment in their rental property portfolios by landlords.

For years rent controls caused damage to the nation’s housing market, reducing the number of properties being built and recovery took almost a decade. The current rhetoric being touted around by politicians could have disastrous consequences for house builders and landlords alike.

The introduction of longer term tenancies is very much geared towards tenants but fails to address the problems already faced by landlords when tenants abscond without giving any notice, leaving the landlord out of pocket and looking for new tenants.

The UK’s private rental sector (PRS) has improved dramatically over recent year’s thanks in part to the introduction of tighter legislation, but there remains a delicate balance between regulation and altering the relationship between tenant and landlord. Intervention on rents and security of tenure has in the past damaged both market liquidity and good business values within the PRS.

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Political Parties Focus On Housing In Attempt To Win General Election

Political Parties Focus On Housing In Attempt To Win General Election

Conservatives Want  Tenants To Have

Right To Buy Housing Association Properties

With the UK’s General Election called on the 7th May 2015 it is almost time to decide which of the political parties you will vote for.

Election campaigning usually sees a raft of ill thought out policy ideas being spouted by politicians in an attempt to win public support and publishing election manifesto’s that promise to deliver what each political party thinks the public want.

On the run up to the election Spotlight will examine some of the key statements and manifesto hype about the UK housing market and private rental sector used to influence public support.

It appears that all political parties will focus on these topics to win the hearts and minds of voters, regardless of whether the ideas are good or not.

In fact, housing will be one of the biggest issues facing the country at the General Election in May. Polling by Ipsos Mori suggests that the cost of housing is of growing importance to the UK public. In 2010 only 5% of those polled ranked it as their biggest concern but by 2014 this figure had almost trebled to 14%.

With this in mind, one of our reporters spotted this gem of an article in the Huffington Post written by David Orr, the Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF), entitled:

Seven Reasons Why Extending ‘Right to Buy’ to Housing Associations Is Plain Bad Policy

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