A mixed Summer Budget for renters

Having won the election, George Osborne used his first Budget of the parliament to rifle through the pockets of his vanquished political rivals. He abolished non-dom status for permanent UK residents and announced an increase in the minimum wage, dubbing it the Living Wage in the process - both more or less Labour election policies. 

And he nicked a Green Party policy by cutting tax relief for landlords. 

We have long been calling for a review of landlord subsidies - we proposed in February that a new levy should be imposed to recoup the £9.3bn of housing benefit that we funnel into landlords' pockets. This money could then be invested in new social housing. 

This policy is a pale imitation of that, but it's a big move from the Chancellor. First, he'll stop higher rate taxpayers from claiming tax relief on mortgage interest payments, and second, he'll replace the blanket 10% wear and tear allowance with a system where the landlord has to prove that they replace furnishings, etc in order to claim relief.

A few observations on this:

  • Mortgage interest relief isn't entirely abolished - corporate landlords can claim interest as a business expense, so we might see higher rate paying landlords heading en masse to Companies House. But at least that will create a level playing field between genuine businesses which are more likely to be professional and in it for the long term, and the speculators who tend to be responsible for the poor practices.
  • With the wear and tear allowance scrapped, landlords will have to do a bit of work to qualify for their tax relief. Tenants living with faulty boilers and mouldy sofas should see them start getting replaced.
  • We estimated in the link above that the Exchequer loses over £6bn from interest relief and £1.7bn a year from the wear and tear allowance. Neither are scrapped so not all of this will be recouped. In fact, the Treasury estimates that only £2bn will be raised over the next five years, or £835m by 2020-21, but that money could build 20,000 homes by 2021 and 8000 homes a year thereafter.
  • Industry groups have already complained that this will lead to rents going up. That's nonsense. Landlords are already receiving a premium for their properties because demand is so high. Extra taxes to pay will do nothing to demand, so rents will remain at the same (high) level. Only a third of landlords have a mortgage so this won't even affect that much of the market.
  • That said, landlords may well decide to sell up - in this case renters will need protection from eviction. We would like to see councils, housing associations and other responsible landlords step into the market to ensure renters can stay in their homes. 

The other big announcement was the Chancellor's extension of tax relief to homeowners who take in lodgers, the culmination of the Raise the Roof campaign, led by Spare Room and supported by us as a modest way of increasing supply of housing. Lodgers still need improvements to their rights - which are far below those of tenants.

Unfortunately, the Budget also contained long-expected cuts to housing benefit for under-21s (with exceptions), local housing allowance (in the form of a four-year freeze) as well as the new benefit cap, all of which immediately hit people's the support provided for people's housing costs. These are some of the most vulnerable people in society and few will have anywhere to turn once the cuts bite. The housing benefit bill is large and unsustainable, but it can't be fixed by taking money away and storing up bigger problems for the future. With borrowing still cheap at 2.2%, the government could be making a better return by investing in housing. This would reduce the housing benefit bill without forcing people out on to the streets.

Showing 11 reactions

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  • commented 2015-10-26 11:58:17 +0000
    Hi James, sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. We’d like to post on the blog more regularly, but we’re a small team with a lot of other things going on. Thanks for your comments which make some very important points and I hope I’ve addressed them in the below:

    Generation Rent’s priorities
    We set and pursue our policies based on a number of principles – including that the private rented sector and the housing market needs to be sustainable. Unfortunately we don’t see this as achievable as long as there is a culture of speculating on house prices. The potential returns (16% annually according to Paragon) attract a lot of investors into the market, which pushes house prices out of the reach of would-be first time buyers (The Intergenerational Foundation says by an extra £14,000). With no other tenure available, these people then push up demand for private rented properties.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/26/returns-for-buy-to-let-landlords-dwarf-other-investments
    http://www.if.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Why-BTL-Equals-Big-Tax-Rip-off.pdf

    Our objective is to dissuade investors from taking advantage of the housing shortage, and persuade them to do something to fix it. An incentive to divert investment into other parts of the economy will dampen house prices, and help more people find a suitable home – especially if that money is put into house building.

    Our policy proposals
    But that’s not the only thing we’re calling for. We want to see better protection of tenants: essentially, good tenants should not face no-fault eviction, and should be protected from being forced out by a landlord raising the rent unreasonably. If landlords wanted to repossess the property, they should reimburse the tenants for the cost of moving. We remain committed to campaigning for this and communication this to the government. Regardless of the Chancellor’s policy, landlords up and down the country are evicting good tenants or hiking their rents, and tenants sorely need protection from that.

    Other factors
    Rents are rising because there is a shortage of houses and growing demand for private renting from people who don’t necessarily want to be private renters. Homelessness is already on the rise. Landlords might claim to be evicting tenants and raising the rent because of this new policy, but many of them will be doing it anyway. Landlords won’t be affected by tax on mortgage interest until 2017, so even if they were rendered unprofitable in year 1 there is no reason for them to take any action for two years. Based on trends identified by the English Housing Survey (2013/14 headline report, Section 1, Table 1.1), 55% of tenants will move within two years, and 80% move within five years, so most affected landlords will be able to exit the market with minimal fuss.

    Numbers affected
    The National Landlord Association has made some estimates of the likely numbers affected (you linked to this below). Households renting from unincorporated landlords with a buy-to-let mortgage or other finance, and who are in the higher or additional tax bracket, number around 560,000.

    Many of these properties will have been bought at a relatively low price and are therefore getting a pretty good yield on their investment (and have made a capital gain). The NLA gives some typical purchase prices for each year 1990-2014 and a typical rent of £9600 a year. The only properties on which the typical yield dips to 5% are those bought recklessly at the top of the market in 2007 and in 2014 – and even for those years the landlords would make a profit with interest rates the way they are (3.5% is the NLA’s assumption) and deductible costs of £1000 pa.

    According to CML figures, in 2007 and 2014 there were more buy-to-let purchases than in other years (183,000 and 100,100 respectively). Out of a total of 829,000 BTL mortgages (NLA), these risky mortgages account for one third. So around 190,000 households are renting from a landlord who might be driven out of business by this tax change. There might be landlords who bought in other years with low yields, but they stand to make capital gains on their property.

    Of the 190,000, only 20% could be expected to live there for more than five years – so that’s about 38,000 households whose landlord might be forced to sell up while they’re still living there.

    There are about 300,000 first time buyers a year, and, as we saw in the 2000s, this number has the potential to reach 600,000. Out of the 5.1m private renter households in the UK, about 1.5m could be expected to buy in the next five years, and the government wants to double that number, so let’s make it a more realistic 2.5m potential first time buyers, or 50% of the current population. Half of those 38,000 private renters might be in a position to buy their home from the landlord – especially if there were some inducement for the landlord to sell to the tenant rather than evict them (e.g. receiving rent until the day they exchanged contracts).

    That’s less than half of one percent of the total private renter population. Relatively few of these will be housing benefit recipients given lenders’ restrictions on letting to such households. If the tenant can’t buy out the landlord, it’s already common for properties to be sold with the tenants still living there. Better security of tenure – protection from eviction and rent hikes – would help nudge more landlords into doing that.

    And, of course, building more social housing would reduce the government’s dependence on landlords who have made a risky investments.

    What will landlords do as a result of the announcement?
    Landlords who try and raise the rent to cover their new costs might find that their tenants can find a lower rent with a landlord who doesn’t have a mortgage. Landlords with a big influence over their local market like Fergus Wilson might put up rents more easily. We’ll be urging Maidstone Council and others to build more homes, as Fergus himself has done.

    If landlords have to sell up, those houses aren’t going anywhere – they’ll be bought by other landlords (social or corporate), ideally with the tenants in situ, or by first time buyers. The net impact on homelessness will be zero.

    House building won’t be affected. There will be plenty of corporate landlords who will buy up new builds. Buy to let borrowing in August was down on July, but still way up on August 2014.

    Interest rates
    Even if these tax changes didn’t go through, the impact of interest rate rises on landlords would be much greater than anything the tax change would have in store.

    The Bank of England identified the buy-to-let market as a risk to the broader financial stability, but if they were to raise interest rates that would choke off more vulnerable parts of the economy. It makes sense for the Treasury to target the BTL sector directly if it allows the Bank to keep wider interest rates low.

    Example landlords
    There have been a number of different workings and it would be easy to spend all day saying that the policy would be bad for Landlord X and not so bad for Landlord Y. But here’s why tax reform is better for landlords than interest rate rises.

    Here’s one for an astute landlord who bought after the crash, using the NLA’s figures:

    Bob paid £154,000 in 2009 for a house that’s now worth £188,000, and can rent it out at £9600 a year – a 6.2% yield. He’s paying interest on a mortgage of £115,500 costing £4042.50 a year. Costs of £1000 mean his profit is £4557.50 and he pays tax of £1823 on that, keeping £2734.

    With new tax rules, Bob’s bill goes up to £2631.50, but he keeps £1926, down about £800.

    If there’s no tax reform, and interest rates go up by 1.5 percentage points to 5%, Bob ends up paying £5775 in interest. His post-tax profit falls to £1695. He’s better off with lower interest rates and higher tax.

    Here’s a potted version of the one you sent me:

    Jim bought a property (in June 2015, let’s say) for £200,000, with a £150,000 mortgage and a 5% yield at £10,000 pa. The mortgage of 4% costs £6000 (higher than the 3.5% the NLA uses). His costs are £2000 (a bit high compared to other examples I’ve seen), meaning there’s a profit of £2000. Taxed at 40% that leaves £1200. With 20% tax to pay on the interest payment, that’s £1200, so it wipes out the profit.

    Let’s assume that interest rates rise by 1.5 percentage points to 5.5% and there’s no tax reform. The landlord is paying £8250 in interest and as there’s plenty of competition from landlords with no mortgages to pay, rent remains at £10,000. With costs still at £2000, he’s already making a loss of £250.

    Tinkering with the policy
    There are suggestions from landlord groups of fine tuning the policy to limit the perceived damage. Here are a few:

    1. Applying the rules only to new investment in 2016.
    This may well have a similar effect on speculation that we are seeking, but it would presumably give HMRC more to do, requiring extra pages to the tax return, for example.

    2. Giving landlords an easy way out of the market by reducing capital gains tax:
    We would support a tax credit for landlords who sold to their tenants. Otherwise we’d rather not subsidise evictions. If you’ve made tens of thousands of pounds just by owning property, it’s not unreasonable for the government to levy a 28% tax on that.

    3. Make it easier for landlords to establish a company:
    The culture of rising house prices is corrosive, so the government has to distinguish between the individual taking advantage of the housing shortage, and the sustainable business interested only in rental income (which we are happy with). The former shouldn’t expect the government to subsidise his flutter on the property market, but the latter should expect to be treated like any other business. This tax change incentivises long term landlords to become companies, but if there are barriers they should be looked at. In incorporating, landlords make themselves more transparent – the government, local authorities and renters are able to find out who the landlord is, what they own, and who the directors are. On a larger scale that will improve scrutiny and understanding of the private rented market, and ultimately better practices from landlords.

    In conclusion
    Ultimately, landlord tax reforms on their own aren’t going to solve the problems we see in the private rented sector, and the wider measures we are calling for on security of tenure would limit the already limited fallout.

    The vast majority of renters would benefit from reduced speculative demand for property. With less upward pressure on prices, more renters could enter owner occupation, relieving demand on the private rented sector and depressing rents for the renters who remain.

    The landlords who would be worst affected are those who have made an investment thinking that 5% yield is good value. To call for a reversal of the policy on this basis would be to encourage shoddy investment decisions, and we’re not going to do that.
  • commented 2015-09-28 12:49:04 +0100
    Nothing to say Dan? I’m guessing that’s because you realise now that tenants are in for a really rough time.

    If you still want more evidence then look at what has happened in Ireland since they reduced the amount of mortgage interest that can be offset to 75%. George Osborne is going way further by intending to limit it to 20%. In Ireland rents have gone through the roof so what do you think is going to happen here???
  • commented 2015-09-14 12:46:02 +0100
    Like I said Dan, rents will go up, it’s not ’’nonsense’’. If you read the article you’ll see that one of the biggest landlords in the country is now in the process of increasing rents by a massive one third in order to offset the tax change that you’ve campaigned for. As he has such a major influence on rents in his area what do you think will happen with other landlords. Those with mortgages have the same pressures as Fergus Wilson so they will do the same, and then the landlords with no mortgages will often do the same too. This is what you’ve campaigned for.

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/sep/12/fergus-wilson-rent-rise-property-kent-maidstone?CMP=share_btn_fb

    And I guess you’ll be wanting the rent controls you’ve been pushing for too, in order to protect people that are now going to see their rents rise because of the tax change. There are two issues with that. Firstly people stop investing in property and that slows down the housebuilders. The second problem directly affects tenants because landlords worried about the controls will always put the rents up to the maximum they can. There is plenty of evidence of this and that means the controls actually increase rent inflation.

    Can you now see the tax change is going to hurt tenants???
  • commented 2015-09-02 18:28:57 +0100
    Dan, surprised not to have heard from you.

    I just want to run a few facts past you.

    1. There are around 4.4 million people in private rental accommodation.
    2. The NLA reckon that in the region of 828,526 properties belonging to non-incorporated landlords have finance on them.

    Source: http://www.landlords.org.uk/sites/default/files/Finance%20Bill%202015-16%20-%20Briefing%20-%20August%202015.pdf

    3. The Government admit that they don’t really know what the outcome will be in terms of rental properties sold off but if you look at the numbers on Page 21 of the Summer Budget Costing, they’re working on around 20%

    Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443195/Policy_costings_summer_budget_2015.pdf

    4. “The most recent quarterly statistics published in June 2015 recorded 64,610 households in temporary accommodation at the end of March 2015. This marks the fifteenth quarterly increase in the seasonally-adjusted number of households in temporary accommodation. The number of families with dependent children placed in B&B style accommodation increased from 630 at the end of March 2010 to 2,570 at the end of March 2015.”

    Source: www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn02110.pdf

    So it would seem we can expect 20% x 828,526 households will be evicted = 176,000. Let’s agree that only a very small percentage of them will be able to buy their own house, maybe even off the landlord, say 2% (personally I think that’s being generous), that leaves 172,480 households out on the street.

    It’s hard to know for sure what the makeup of the households will be, so for the sake of argument let’s say it’s a family of 3 (I’ve seen similar comparisons elsewhere), that means that 517,440 people are looking for a home, who were already housed. That’s people that had somewhere to live and now don’t!

    We now have 20% less homes available to rent. We also have 2,570 families already living in B&B accommodation and a further 62,040 living in other emergency accommodation.

    Tell me again Dan, just how is it that this tax policy you’ve campaigned for is going to help the people you say you represent please?
  • commented 2015-08-29 11:37:48 +0100
    Dan I realised I didn’t fully address a couple of the points you raised.

    I’m not sure why you believe the tax system encourages people to put money into property other than businesses, though actually even if it did that’s a good thing. House builders know they have a solid market with investors and rely upon it when working out their figures, or at least they did. I have been told (therefore I’ve not confirmed) that at least one of the major building companies have said that if you remove BTL from the market they’ll build less and that helps nobody.

    I note you’re on the same old track about the tax relief being a tax break and not a business cost. Tell me then, why is it if you buy yourself a car on finance you can’t have tax relief, but if you did it for your business you can? If a house is an asset for producing income, as is a car in a business then they should be treated the same. Indeed Professor Phillip Booth from the Institute of Economic Affairs has specifically addressed the current issue and said that if you want to tax an income then you have to give relief on the cost of borrowing to generate it. So there you are, one of the top economists in the country has made it clear.

    Also, as you well know this does not put owner/occupier buyers on the same footing as investors as the owner occupier does not get hit with Captial Gains Tax when he or she sells.

    So whichever way you look at it… the correct way of the BTL house being a business or if you really want to look at it as a comparison against the owner occupier, this will NOT make “it a level playing field”.

    You make a wild assumption about most LL’s being able to afford increased costs and I’d refer you to two articles headlined in the NLA newspaper of yesterday which can be found at:

    https://nlauk.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/it-was-better-when-they-forgot-all-about-the-prs/?dm_i=11G,3MBI3,U9MOT,D0E6R,1

    http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/over-quarter-landlords%E2%80%99-income-goes-on-mortgage-repayments

    I hope you find the time to read these articles because they’ll highlight where you’re assumptions are off the mark. By the way, the NLA also indicate that two thirds of LL’s have BTL mortgages. So, if you read these reports you‘ll see that this tax proposal is going to change the letting market dramatically but perhaps not the way you’d like to see it change Dan. As the NLA indicate, rents WILL increase and some LL’s will be forced to sell up. In both cases this is not good news for the people you claim to represent.
  • commented 2015-08-28 14:37:45 +0100
    Sorry Dan, you’re missing a lot of cold hard truths that really shouldn’t be overlooked. I assume you are part of GR?

    Firstly we have to agree to disagree about investing in property. If you want to get the facts as to what happens when you control investing in property you just need to look at what happened in this country in those years with regulated tenancies and rent controls. It’s one of the reasons we don’t have enough housing now. Let me refer you to a great article that Landlordzone have just written; http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/landlordzone-update/will-sense-prevail-with-rent-controls#rm

    I must add that whilst I don’t know your background and qualifications, three top economic institutions have said that the taxing of landlords in this way is wrong. These organisations are Policy Exchange, the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Paul Johnson from the IFS not only said the taxation was ‘plain wrong’ but will not help people to get on the property ladder. So that’s the top guys in the country saying this is the wrong way to cope with the issue. OK?

    Are you suggesting that house prices are going to plummet to enable people to buy? If so I would suggest that they’re very unlikely to but with some regional variations. However if prices plummet the lenders will want bigger percentage deposits so I think the FTB’s will be disappointed.

    You seem to have completely missed the point of the example I gave you where it doesn’t matter that rents have gone up higher than inflation or not. Rents will have to go up again for the LL to retain properties just to cover the tax burden. I’m going to be blunt and say that you’re passion for knocking landlords seems to have blinded you to the financial facts. The example purposely shows a relatively low mortgage, maybe it was what the LL could get when he first bought the property, maybe not, but the mortgage is low compared to many. Indeed when you talk about heavily geared LL’s you are probably thinking of portfolios. If that’s the case, that is a LL with a large portfolio of heavily mortgaged houses, then he or she will certainly not be able to meet the tax demand. Therefore a lot of houses may be sold off and tenants evicted. Do you understand that?

    You ask ‘why not just incorporate to avoid the tax?’. Well firstly that’s not going to help your cause is it, so I’m not sure why you suggest that, BUT many LL’s can’t because of the traps of Stamp Duty and Capital Gains. Therefore they may well sell up and in doing so they will evict tenants.

    Your page text says that LL’s moving houses into a company will increase professionalism. I am somewhat nonplussed about your argument. Exactly why will it make a difference to the quality of the property that someone sets up a £30 company and transfers ownership to it???

    And you also rightly point out that the change is to be phased in over 4 years. Yup, and many will sell up. Some can’t for the same reasons as they can’t incorporate. The result will be that if they can’t meet the tax demand they will just have to wait for the house(s) to be repossessed and again the tenants will be moved on.

    It is hard fact that there are millions of people in the country that cannot get a mortgage, just look at the recently announced net immigration figures, so where would you like them to live please when there are less houses to rent? Yet you’re all in favour of landlords selling up!

    Dan, is your argument about YOU not being able to afford a house and want to knock LL’s because you can’t? If so then give some thought to the people you represent which are tenants. So many of them are tenants now and always will be tenants even if house prices took a severe knocking. You really don’t seem to care about their situation with your response and indeed your organisation’s fight. I know that’s speaking very plainly but everything you do indicates that you seem to want to hurt tenants.

    Understand that supply and demand works two ways and if you want rents to come down you need to increase supply or reduce demand. Well I don’t see a way of reducing demand sensibly so we need to increase supply of good quality rental stock. What you aim to do is reduce it. It does not make any sense and you just need to stop having a go at LL’s and start working with them. I happen to know someone that used to work with your last Director and when my friend suggested the same approach to Mr Hilton it was met with shock. I’m afraid to say though that I really don’t ever see this happening.
  • commented 2015-08-28 11:30:45 +0100
    Hi James, thanks for your comments.

    You’ve got to agree that the tax system is ridiculous: it encourages people to put their money into property instead of businesses – property developers, for example – that actually create jobs (and build houses). It also puts landlords at a massive advantage in the housing market over people who want to buy a house to live in. Those would-be owner occupiers then end up as the customers of the people they lost out to in the sale market. This reform is long overdue.
    Rents are going up faster than inflation anyway – most landlords could therefore easily afford increased costs. Most landlords don’t even have a mortgage, and most of those who do bought their properties years ago so yields will be pretty high.
    If they can’t remain profitable, and they are serious about providing homes, then why not just incorporate their business and pay corporation tax on profits?
    If they decide that landlording isn’t for them and want to sell up, the government is rightly phasing in the new tax regime over four years. That means that tenancies can come to a natural end and landlords can then put their property on the market. Heck, a lot of those tenants will have been saving up a deposit all these years and if this policy depresses prices then they’ll finally be able to buy something. Hey presto, demand for private renting falls.
  • commented 2015-08-27 20:06:38 +0100
    Miss Dilner & Co

    You’ve been pressing for the change in landlord taxation for some time and you’ve got what you wanted so you must now take responsibility for it.

    First let me ask that if you’re so sure that rents won’t go up, why is it you want rent controls? The answer is I think, because you’ve now realised that this change will either force rents up or make many people homeless through eviction, depending on regional differences.

    Let’s take an example of say, a house worth £120k with a yield of 5%. For anyone reading this not knowing what yield is, it’s the annual rent expressed as a percentage of the house value. So in this case 5% of £120k is £6k meaning a monthly rent of £500.

    The landlord may have letting agent fees of 10% (+ VAT), insurance and normal stuff like annual gas certs and so forth. So if we allow £800 for these costs it comes to about £67 per month, we then get on to the mortgage.

    If we assume the mortgage is only £75k on a 5% interest only mortgage the monthly cost will be £312.50. Call it £312.

    Therefore he nets a profit of 500 – 67 – 312 = £121 but may still have maintenance costs out of that. Not making much if a leak takes out a ceiling, the boiler breaks down or a slate blows off the roof is he? His profits will be low! Yet a 5% yield is not untypical across the country. Some areas will be higher, some like London could well be lower.

    However he is hopefully still in profit but he has to pay tax on the annual profit of £1452. If he is a 40% tax payer his annual net profit, without any extra maintenance will be 1452 × 0.6 = £871.

    Now under the new rules his mortgage payments are added to his net profit so the annual income is considered to be 6k + 1452 = £7452 and he still pays 40% on that. This tax is £2980 but he’s allowed to offset 20% of his £6k mortgage cost giving him back £1200. His final tax bill is therefore 2980 – 1200 = £1780 tax when his profit is still only £1452. Thus he is paying more tax than the money he is making. Do you understand why rents will have to go up now that you’ve got this tax change coming in?

    But it gets worse….

    His mortgage is less than 63% of the value and could be higher and interest rates could rise. Both would reduce his net profit now but under the proposed tax rules it will be far, far worse because his tax burden will far outstrip his income.

    So, landlords will have to increase rents substantially (let’s not forget they’ll get taxed on that income too) and if they can’t do that, they will be forced to sell up. The first places to go will probably be the bigger family homes because yields are usually lower on these, but then other properties will need to be sold off too.

    This inflated false income will in many cases move landlords from a low tax band to the high tax band. They’re not making any more money but their tax band has gone up and they could even lose part or all of their personal allowance.

    So it’s quite possible that thousands and thousands of tenants will be evicted due to this tax rule change and that means there’s less places to rent. What do you think will happen to rents then? As you rightly said, it’s demand and supply. Less places to rent but demand still as high as it was (well with immigration as it is it’ll probably still keep increasing).

    So you see, tenants are really going to get hit one way or another here. I would suggest that you and your colleagues sign the petition and advise everyone you know to do so too.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104880
  • commented 2015-08-25 20:05:45 +0100
    Caroline Boucher, you’d mostly find that landlords would agree with you. We understand the housing crisis and the majority of us provide good homes for people that either cant afford to buy, don’t want to buy, can’t buy because of lack of a good credit history (e.g the 6 million plus foreign workers and families that have insufficient credit history). People go on about landlords taking housing benefit and it’s taxpayers money, and of course their right, but the Government has not done enough to encourage housebuilders to keep up with demand for many many years. If landlords don’t provide the housing then nobody else will because they can’t. If the Government had invested over the years into housing and not opened up our borders to these millions of people then the crisis would be less. By the way I’m not saying we shouldn’t have foreign workers, it’s just that they’re here and need to be housed. If Councils had the money to build then that’s most definitely what they should have done, but they didn’t so had to rely on the private rented sector (landlords) to house nearly 4 million people. I would love to see more council housing, I really would. And then the payments for B&B accommodation would come down too.

    It’s really strange that people criticise landlords for taking housing benefit tenants (I don’t take them) because they’re taking taxpayers money, but when Fergus Wilson in Maidstone evicted 200 HB tenants because of rent arrears, he was criticised for that too. You can’t have it both ways!

    Lastly I must say again that this new tax on landlords mortgages will do nothing but harm and needs to be seriously amended or scrapped altogether. Rents will either go up OR people will be evicted as houses are sold off. I absolutely promise you it will happen.
  • commented 2015-08-25 19:30:39 +0100
    My rents are going up Betsy I can tell you that. It isn’t ‘nonsense’ it is going to happen. I never put rents up mid term of a tenancy but this is going to force me to. If you really think rents can’t go up then watch this space. Not something I want to do but I’m being forced to do. If landlords can’t increase rents then they will be forced to sell up. This campaign you have waged is going to hurt the very people you claim to be helping. If you’d bothered to consult with good landlords you would realise that this tax change will mean that they will be taxed more than they earn so some will put rents up, others will sell. If they sell there’s less properties to rent and that forces rent up again. It’s simple economics. You’ve really made a mess of this one!
  • commented 2015-07-29 23:03:14 +0100
    instead of pouring housing benefit into landlords pockets why no give poor people the chance to own own home with the house being partly owned in the end buy the goverment but some of it owned by the person .
    self biuld or similar could be the way forward . so it means that fat landlords get thin and the poor own something that theyll never get as the way is at the moment is it not better that the goverment help the poor directly and not line some greedy persons pocket -sounds utopic but thats where the landlords all are