With a new Prime Minister and a new Chancellor heavily modifying their predecessors’ policies on the deficit, “affordable” housing and schools, the property industry is hopeful that the government will pursue similar revisionism on its landlord tax policy.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors this week called on the government to scrap the stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let and second homes, while landlords have been in the High Court to challenge the withdrawal of mortgage interest tax relief for landlords paying higher rate income tax.
We’ve just learned that there will not be a judicial review of the government’s policy.
Whenever you propose reform of private renting, the landlord lobby always says no, because "landlords couldn't afford it". Whether it's asking landlords to cover the cost of letting agent fees, to apply for a licence, to charge controlled rents, or to pay tax on their loans, we're asked to believe that they can't afford it. Then they threaten to raise rents - as if rents haven't already been outpacing inflation since the end of the recession.
This claim assumes that landlords are already paying large amounts of their revenue out again in costs. Some of them are, but we point out that the majority are not, because they don't have a mortgage.
For example, an interest-only mortgage of £150,000 at 4% costs £6000 a year. Rent on the £200,000 property bought with that mortgage might get you £10,000. Two thirds of private rented properties have no mortgage, and thus have significantly lower costs and capacity to absorb new regulatory requirements.
Yesterday, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed that the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme would wind up at the end of the year. This was arguably the more controversial of the two Help to Buy schemes announced in the 2013 Budget, but it was originally meant to last only 3 years. And with it gone, we're still left with a Help to Buy loan scheme that is highly counterproductive to any efforts to fix the housing crisis.
During his recent visit to New York City, the Mayor of London took the opportunity to announce one of his key pre-election pledges for the private rented sector, the London Living Rent.
Doing so while overseas was both surprising and interesting and his visit to New York highlighted the challenges facing the Mayors of both cities.
Today we have called on the Mayor of London to adopt a set of policies that will speed up his efforts to end the capital’s housing crisis.
To remind him what’s at stake, we have uncovered another startling trend that is hurting the city and its people.
Every year the Office for National Statistics releases figures on internal migration – how many people move from one part of the UK to another – and people are moving out of London at an alarming rate.
Proposals this week to implement cheap rents for London's artists show how the the city's housing crisis makes an absurdity of good intentions, and indicates why a closer link to universality rather than targeting is needed to make renting affordable again in the capital.
The issue of foreign investors pumping money into the London property market has once again been raised by last night’s BBC report on a rise in overseas investment in the outer London boroughs, and how this provides competition for first-time buyers.