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Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Muted Response To Tax Relief Petition

The Government has published a response to the online petition that opposes the proposals to change the amount of tax relief on buy to let mortgages announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in the post election summer budget.

From April 2017 onwards landlords will only be able to claim the basic rate tax relief rather than the higher rate tax relief on buy to let mortgage payments. It is widely feared that the move will severely affect the profitability of the private rented sector (PRS).

The online petition to reverse the planned tax restrictions on individual landlords has attracted more than 23,600 signatures since being posted.

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Southampton City Council are set to decide on plans to impose compulsory licensing for all Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) within the city.

Over 6,500 HMO’s are currently registered within the city limits however only 392 are licensed; and the council are reported to have a significant problem with rogue landlords.

If councillors decide on a public consultation, landlords, tenants and letting agents may get the opportunity to lobby against the idea and will be able to put their views across regarding the nature and scope of the proposed HMO licensing scheme.

However the scheme is widely tipped to go ahead regardless and the £500 licensing fee that will apply to each individual property will quickly become a reality for HMO landlords in the city.

A Southampton Council spokesman commented, “Although the council recognises that there are many good landlords, this sector, concentrated in the north and central areas of the city, has some significant problems. Research suggests that within the 6,500 properties affected, there is evidence of unsatisfactory management, disrepair, inadequate safety standards and community harm.”

Roger Bell of the Southern Landlords Association (SLA) has a different viewpoint though and considers the proposed licensing fee ‘unjustified’. He also believes that the cost will be passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases, and recently said, “The cost will be passed on to those least able to pay it. These are people due to force of circumstance who are forced to live in HMO’s.”

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