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by Nick Smith Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Shocking industry stats make you question the new landlord taxes

Recently you will have seen a lot in the press regarding the governments new taxes aimed squarely at landlords. This move in the last budget was meant to combat the apparent “problem” of landlords allegedly buying up all the affordable housing, really? Does anyone truly believe that this is the case? The National Audit Office published statistics recently showing that out of a £28bn spend by the Government on housing in England in the last financial year, £20.9bn was actually paid in housing benefit to tenants, paid to 4.1m applicants (no doubt Wales has a similar split). There are tens of thousands of derelict buildings situated all across the country, and it seems to me that the billions being spent are not being spent wisely. Many empty buildings could be converted into affordable housing and the government needs to be honest with the public about the state of the housing situation across the country, rather that point scoring with headline figures that mask the truth and don’t stack up against intelligent scrutiny. It’s not an easy topic to broach or resolve, especially where there are such vast sums of money involved, but penalising those with the inclination, desire and ability to buy property, with a genuine will to continue to prop up the market, and then justifying that penalisation to the public by saying that it is with the intent to free up housing stock, just does not seem fair or make sense to me. House prices continue to rise and  I cannot see how with a fast expanding population, where demand for housing continues to rise and outstrip supply, that the amount of available stock can ever feasibly rise quickly enough to meet that demand. The government needs to build more houses or make more use of the countless building we see all over the UK which have fallen into disrepair or lay empty. I fail to see how taxing the Landlords who already prop up the housing sector is in any way a sensible long term solution. It’s a fact that the landlords in this country have propped up the marketplace for years, spending their hard earned money or inheritance on buying properties, often to provide an income in preparation for their intended retirement (they are in fact only saving for their retirement like all governments have advised us / them to do). They then rent out these expensive assets to those who need accommodation. They maintain them, improve them and take all the risk including the millions each year lost to bad debt and repairs on properties that have been damaged. The response from government is then simply to penalise that investment additional taxation and effectively by taxing them out of the market, leaving a huge amount of affordable stock for those who want it, really? does anyone actually  believe this a realistic or fair option? I for one do not believe it at all. We deal with countless landlords who are just trying to put a bit aside for their retirement. For many, these new taxes and new legislation which bare even more costs, seem very unfair. They feel victimised and can you really blame them? Surely engaging with landlords, developers and property people to try to help ease the deepening housing crisis would be a better use of time and resources. Rather than trying to tax those, who have for years been pouring vast amounts of money into the property industry, filling the huge shortfall in funding that successive government have failed to provide. Why not work with these people to come up with long term solutions to this problems…