New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords8:59 AM, 15th January 2020
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The following are just a selection of the emails that Property118 members have sent to George Osborne since his budget announcements affecting landlords last week.
Please feel to post yours in the comments section below ….
Dear Mr Osborne
I am writing to you to express my dismay and consternation at the proposed changes to the allowances on taxation for small landlord businesses like my own.
I have tried to provide an income for my retirement to avoid relying solely on the state pension and a meagre pension from my employer and have chosen to do without luxuries in order to build up a small portfolio of properties to provide that income and the proposed changes will destroy those plans.
As with any other small business, finance and loan interest costs are a direct running cost and the treatment of any other business in the same way as that proposed is inconceivable (a plumber not having an allowance for purchase of van etc).
If these measures are adopted a landlord having a long void due to a maintenance problem eg a fire or a non paying tenant, would still have his mortgage interest to pay but would have no income to set it against. Not only may he have no income due to the above circumstances but he would still receive a tax bill for interest he has paid on his mortgage.
Large property owning corporations and wealthy investors who have no borrowings will not be affected by these changes, it will hit hardest landlords, including basic tax payers incidentally, who have invested as individuals and who have planned their businesses from day one around the current allowances.
It is vital that a business letting property is seen as just that – A BUSINESS. Running this type of business is as complicated and time consuming as any running any other. It takes long term planning, it has overheads, it is affected by late paying and non paying customers as is any other – it cannot be right or fair that there are totally discriminatory rules for only this kind of business.
The assertion given by the chancellor that landlords paying the basic rate of tax will be unaffected by the changes has now been shown in calculations to be patently untrue, including by HMRC themselves.
Along with the extreme financial hardship caused to hard working business people – most of whom helped to put the Conservatives in office, ultimately this will inevitably also cause a reduction in the supply of privately rented housing and an associated escalation of rents for the tenants, as landlords decide the diminishing margins make letting property no longer a viable proposition.
I sincerely hope that you are able to look again at these proposals and hopefully ditch them altogether or if not then make them apply only to new investments thus not affecting businesses built on a certain previous business model.
And another ….
Dear Mr Osborne
I am most concerned about the proposals, for the following reasons:
Landlords who bought in their own names will pay tax on their interest expense, rather than on real income. Interest is a legitimate cost of our business, just as it is for any other form of enterprise in the country which borrows money to buy assets that generate taxable income.
Rental property is not a hands-off investment like buying gold bars. Being a landlord requires work. They can be called upon any day, at any hour, to deal with problems. For some of them it is a full-time job maintaining their properties and dealing with tenants and agents and the administrative and accounting work that is entailed.
If this proposal is applied to existing mortgages you will be changing the rules for people who bought 20 years ago or more. You will undermine the concept of certainty which businesses of all types of rely on.
The illustrative example from Megan Shaw, Product Owner – Property Income & REITs at HMRC, of the effect of the proposed change shows a man with a salary of £40,000 and a real rental income from one property of £1,200 after deducting interest of £10,800. Currently he is a basic rate payer.
When the interest is disallowed, he becomes a higher rate payer. His tax goes up by £1,800. So after spending his time and money looking after this property for a year he has to hand over the real profit of £1,200 to the government, plus 50%. out of his net salary. If he had a second property with the same figures, he would hand over 175% of the real profit.
This is not taxation, it is confiscation of assets by the State. The communist party would be delighted.
Even if the landlord makes a loss he will have to pay tax on the interest, out of his other resources.
If landlords have no other source of income then HMRC, a branch of the government, will make them bankrupt. The result will be divorces, suicides (single and double), and an increased burden on the state.
Lenders will lose money in the bankruptcies.
Landlords who bought in their own names will exit the sector on masse, causing a house price crash. Lenders will lose money in the crash.
Affected landlords will not start companies to buy the new-builds, so fewer homes will be built, fewer sites will be developed, so less affordable housing will be built as well. This announcement may already have had the effect of deterring purchasers.
For both reasons the amount of rented accommodation will fall, reducing the mobility of labour both within the country and from outside, and rents in the remaining properties will rise.
The IFS says the measure is wrong.
You are attacking your party’s natural supporters.
Please do not apply this confiscatory measure to existing mortgages.
and another …..
Dear Mr Osborne
Following your proposed reduction in interest relief for private landlords (whilst exempting those who have a Ltd company structure) the unfortunate full implication of this is that many buy-to-let landlords will end up paying more tax than they are actually making in profit, even paying tax after having experienced a loss!!
The other effect will be that many highly geared landlords (i.e. those with over 75% gearing on their portfolios) will face bankruptcy due to this measure and the double tax whammy of CGT hitting them as well, as they sell out.
Please also bear in mind the mass of distressed sales which will result, not to mention the thousands of rental homes which will become unavailable as a direct result of this measure, just at the time when government is seeking to provide more homes, not less.
I would like you to please reconsider this measure which is grossly unfair and discriminatory to these small business owners, (Buy to Let is without doubt a business , (and a very labour intensive one at that) and not a passive investment.
Some Positive Ideas to improve things going forwards:
1. Full U-turn on the measure
2. if not a U Turn, then an amnesty on SDLT/CGT charging for a one-off move to Ltd structure for landlords who register with a scheme within a set time frame.
3. Apply the measures only to purchases subsequent to 2017
I have spoken to Ann Milton , MP for Guildford this morning at a Conservative party breakfast, and she agrees that many ramifications of proposed new laws are often not thought through fully, and open forums like this morning are very important in deciding how to proceed and also advised me to write to you, and to Mr Howarth, hence the email
I do hope you will decide to help
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