Treasury urged to rethink buy-to-let crackdown

August 2019

The Government is being urged to stop its crackdown on the buy-to-let market, following evidence showing the negative effects of a string of tax changes.

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders’ Association (IMLA) said recent changes are forcing some landlords out of the private rented sector.

It found that landlords with one buy-to-let property made up just 21% of the private rented sector in 2018, down from 40% in 2010.

Over the same eight-year period, landlords with five or more properties in the private rented sector had increased by 10% – from 38% to 48%.

Landlords were left reeling after November 2015 when the Treasury announced a 3% stamp duty land tax (SDLT) surcharge on the purchase of additional properties.

That surcharge sits on top of the various existing SDLT rates that apply to the purchase of homes in England worth more than £125,000.

From April 2017, tax relief on mortgage interest began to be phased out a rate of 25% a year. After April 2020, this relief will be replaced by a basic-rate tax reduction.

Most recently, a ban on tenant fees in England came into place on 1 June 2019, which is estimated will cost landlords around £83 million in the first 12 months alone.

Overall growth has slowed, with the IMLA’s figures from 2017 reporting the first annual decline in the number of private rented sector properties since 1999.

The trend is expected to be mirrored, and possibly exacerbated, when data for 2018 and 2019 is published in the near future.

In the report, the IMLA says:

“We are concerned with the amount of additional regulation that has impacted both the private rented sector and buy-to-let sector since 2015.

“We think the authorities should take time to evaluate the impact of existing changes before introducing any further adverse tax or regulatory measures.”

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