Are the RLA losing the plot?

by Mark Alexander

9:30 AM, 12th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Are the RLA losing the plot?

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Are the RLA losing the plot?

I do not want to fall out with the RLA as I think Alan Ward and his colleagues have written many brilliant articles. However, his recent article published by City AM entitled: “Why solving the country’s housing crisis means backing – not battering – landlords” contains counter-productive suggestions to Government and signals acceptance of S 24 and of the higher rate of CGT.

Alan Ward has suggested that some of the money raised by S 24 is used to …

“help finance a policy of not applying the levy where a landlord is prepared to invest in a home to rent which adds to the net supply of dwellings. This could be a new build property, converting commercial units into housing or bringing one of the over 600,000 empty homes back into use.”

However, anyone who wants to do that in future can avoid S 24 by purchasing via a Limited Company. What about those of us who will pay the levy on loans we took out to add to the net supply of dwellings in the way he describes? He will “continue to call for the changes to mortgage interest relief to apply only to new borrowing.”  That is simply not good enough!  When the RLA makes any statement about a compromise re s24, they should clearly state it should apply to new purchases and not to new borrowing. If it applied to new borrowing this could be interpreted as including remortgages on existing properties. The worst thing about s24 is its retroactive nature and how it damages existing portfolios. If it only applied to new purchases on the other hand, many of us would be very happy with this compromise, because at least any landlords who do want to purchase under the new crazy tax regime can go into it (or not) with their eyes open.

To illustrate the problem a bit further: If new lending and remortgages were interpreted as the same thing, many landlords would thereby be condemned to stay long-term on expensive and punitive variable rates or face the s24 regime. There are also hundreds of thousands of UKAR mortgages for example, many of which are due to come to term. Borrowers here have to redeem the mortgages – they have no choice – again, this could be seen as new lending and the borrower could move into the s24 regime. All that would have been achieved is a delay of however many years they have left on their term. The legislation would still therefore be retroactive. This is why we should insist on the phrase ‘new purchases’ being used.

I may have misunderstood the article, the wording wasn’t entirely clear. It could be that Mr Ward was referring only to the 3% Stamp Duty levy. If that is the case his suggestions are even more feeble and accepting of s24.

The next RLA statement I challenge is …

“in the 2016 Budget the government announced that capital gains tax would be cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent from April 2016. It noted at the time that it would not apply to residential property in order to incentivise investment in companies over property.” 

I don’t recall that being given as a reason. If Mr Ward means shares, money only goes to a company when a share is first issued.

Then ….

“we believe that the lower rate of capital gains tax should apply where a landlord is prepared to sell a property to a sitting tenant.” 

If a landlord is prepared to sell he is prepared to sell to a sitting tenant. But how many of the latter are able to buy, and why haven’t they bought somewhere else?

Clearly the latest RLA article represents a tacit acceptance of s24 as a fait accompli; by recommending how the spoils should be spent, it also follows the Government’s perverse anti-private landlord agenda.

My questions to the RLA are:

How can any of these suggestions be fair for those of us having to pay potentially infinite effective tax rates on loans we took out, in many cases adding to the net supply of dwellings in the way you describe? This would mean we are punished for adding to the supply but that anyone new coming in would be rewarded.

Which if any of these suggestions were discussed with the new coalition between RLA, NLA, ARLA, SLA under the “Axe The Tenant Tax” banner, and if the answer is none, what is the point of the alliance? Are the RLA losing the plot


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Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

22:42 PM, 12th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "paul landlord" at "12/01/2017 - 22:26":

I think both the RLA and NLA are making big strategic mistakes and will lose members over their stance on Section 24 as well as on other issues.

Mark Shine

0:05 AM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "12/01/2017 - 22:42":

As said a while ago, I still wonder what % of RLA/NLA LL members (i.e. membership fee revenues) stand to lose as a direct result of S24 vs what % stand to gain from it?

Rachel Hodge

1:14 AM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Where's Bob Crow when you need him?

Never thought I'd say that.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:28 AM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Shine" at "13/01/2017 - 00:05":

Yes, Mark. They may have weighed it up carefully so that they can sell the rest of us down the swanny. For me, this has always been about justice and fairness and that should come above everything.

Simon Griffith

11:25 AM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

When Mark Alexander initially announced the changes to 118 becoming the Landlords Union my enthusiasm was tempered by the stated aim of not trying to compete with NLA/RLA etc. I understood the rationale but was disappointed as I had hoped that 118 could become the new desperately needed powerhouse uniting all private landlords. I was a memer of the SPLA run by Mike Stimpson and others like a trade association before it was gobbled up by the NLA which effectively became a much more commercial outfit - kind of a landlords shop with lobbying on the side or that is how it seems to me. NLA and RLA just don't convince me anymore. This forum alone has given me much more than the NLA ever has and if 118 were to become the true one stop shop then I would gladly pay accordingly before cancelling my NLA membership. Is this something that could become a reality ? NLA membership 70,000 or so I think, 2m private landlords - massive potential.

Mark Alexander

21:15 PM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Simon Griffith" at "13/01/2017 - 11:25":

It has never been my intention to compete with the big Landlords Associations.

However, I agree that a massive opportunity exists for a large corporate structure to clean up in that market and an acquisition of Property-18 would be the obvious route to market.

We simply don't have the recourses to compete, nor do we have the appetite. Please remember that Property118 started as a hobby. It's hard enough to make it pay for itself given the pace of growth.

It would need a massive injection of capital and resource to compete with the likes of NLA and RLA.

I remain open minded to any such proposals.
.

Ian Hamilton

21:22 PM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Hi Mark,

Could Property 118 Portal be redirected to fund some kind of landlords Association?

Mark Alexander

21:32 PM, 13th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Hamilton" at "13/01/2017 - 21:22":

We looked into that but sadly not. It is too complicated and the resources are nowhere near enough.
.

William Williams

15:37 PM, 14th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "12/01/2017 - 15:47":

I resigned from the NLA in December when my renewal came up as I thought they were not acting in landlords interests by doing virtually nothing about s24 and all the other regulation being introduced. They seem to be an organisation with their main interest being having a captive audience to sell services to.

Ian Simpson

7:20 AM, 15th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Yes the only reason I still have an NLA Membership is to have a convenient online portal to create and store ASTs S21s S8s, S13s etc. which are (in theory) always bang up to date. Additionally, my manager and I can both access all these documents easily online. It also gives a substantial discount on Deposit protection through My-Deposits, which is welcome. I have never been to a regional meeting or any of their CPD, which seems to be aimed at brand new "rabbit in the headlights" landlords, not experienced ones. As for their "lobbying" etc. I totally agree with Mark et al - about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike !! If the same services were available elsewhere I would cancel the membership today.

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