Registered with Property118.comThursday 29th September 2016
Dr Rosalind Beck
This is a great start and framework for a housing policy, which a few years ago would have resembled the Conservative line on this but now it doesn't at all. This is a pro-business and pro-logic approach - both of which qualities have been abandoned by the Tories. It would be helpful if people could share this video far and wide. We have few friends in politics, but here is one.... Read More
Lol. I spotted the 40% nonsense as well. A load of amateurs with no expertise in the subjects they write about.... Read More
Well, many landlords will be heaving a sigh of relief that the war on landlords by the Conservative Party was not ramped up in the Budget, although of course disappointed that he did not take this opportunity to reverse Section 24. That would have been the single most useful thing he could have done. Other observations:
• One can only speculate what he meant when he said he would incentivise landlords who offer longer-term tenancies to those who want them. Landlords are wondering whether this might mean he would exempt landlords from Section 24 if they are willing to offer the longer contracts. An exemption for ‘social tenants’ was introduced in Ireland and led speedily to the full restoration of landlords’ rights to offset finance costs when calculating profit. Fingers crossed for a similar trajectory in the UK. It was, however, good that he did not swallow Shelter’s absurd proposal that all tenancies default to long-term ones (something most tenants don’t want and many lenders don’t allow) or follow Scotland’s awful example of introducing indefinite contracts – one of a raft of measures which will damage the PRS north of the border.
• He announced a doubling of council tax on empty homes. Let’s hope this doesn’t include when properties are empty whilst landlords refurbish them, including when repairing all the damage done by rogue tenants. Maybe he can announce that the rogue tenant will then be liable to pay the extra charge, as it will be the tenant who caused the property to become vacant in the first place (and pigs will fly). A further point is that who does the Chancellor think brings many of what were empty properties back into habitable use? Us; that’s who. And do we get thanked for it? No, we get treated like we’re the human equivalent of the Black Death.
• He made some welcome concessions on Universal Credit, shortening the waiting time from 6 weeks to 5, improving emergency payments and saying that when claimants move onto UC they will be paid a further two weeks HB whilst this claim is going through. That might persuade some landlords to take the risk of huge arrears under the new system (it wouldn’t influence me). What they are not seeing is the larger picture. Landlords’ main priority in the face of huge tax increases has to be to increase rents as high as they will go (not for landlords’ benefit, but purely to collect this on behalf of the Exchequer).
• He promised a further £28 million to tackle homelessness, when it is Government policy which is exacerbating homelessness, primarily through Section 24 and Universal Credit.
• He has abolished SDLT on the first £300,000 for first time buyers purchasing any property up to the value of £500,000. So someone purchasing a £300,000 home to live in pays no tax, but 6 homes valued at £50,000 each, making a total of £300,000 face SDLT of 3% - making landlords far less likely to purchase these to do up and rent out to families in far greater need than those who can afford to spend £300,000-£500,000 on their first home. The ‘level playing field’ argument about landlords and FTBs just got even crazier.
Jeremy Corbyn’s response to all this was predictable – apart from the fact that he now supports landlords being paid Housing Benefit direct as Labour has realised that giving tenants large sums of money with which they might or might not pay the rent actually leads to evictions and homelessness. So, in this respect, he wants landlords to be given HB direct and incredibly, on this one issue appears to be in harmony with what landlords want.
However, practically in his next breath, Corbyn stated: ‘…with 10 billion going into the pockets of private landlords every year, housing is a key factor in driving up the welfare bill. Not too many words from the Chancellor about the excessive levels of rents in the private rented sector.’
He, and others like him, keep repeating the lie that Housing Benefit is a kind of gift or subsidy to landlords. What would he do then? Would he tell tenants who can’t afford to pay for accommodation that they will get nothing? Would he give it to the tenants as it should not go into landlords ‘pockets’ (going against his previous comment about it going directly to landlords)? Would he somehow try to force landlords to offer accommodation for free (as it is wrong of them to accept HB)? Would he bring in rent caps, which would drive thousands of landlords from the market (and even then, the housing benefit bill for private and social housing providers would still be huge)?
Who knows what goes on that deranged mind?
Anyway, all in all, most landlords will not be losing any additional sleep after this and we can live in hope that the war on us will be soon be over. The Government will have to see sense at some point and will then beg us to forgive and forget all the crap they have subjected us to over the last two years in particular. It is only a matter of time before they reverse all the aggressive policies against us and realise that they need us to provide the essential housing for workers, families, migrants, students and the low-paid.... Read More
Hey, Luke. It looks like you influenced the Budget! Hammond has made a few improvements to UC and was quite probably influenced by you and the fact that it was brought up at PMQs. Quite an achievement. Well done.... Read More
It might also be worth having a brief list/summary of all the things which have financially hit landlords recently - which you could hand to George Freeman: UC, Section 24, licensing (where fees are in the hundreds and they often suggest work which costs thousands in order to justify their fees - saying they aim to crack down on rogue landlords but only decent landlords register and adhere to it all), individual council tax banding in HMOs - which could wipe many landlords out when the yield is low - additional stamp duty which hampers buying and selling, exemption for CGT reduction (which discourages selling - when Osborne purported to want landlords to sell to first time buyers - which of course then cuts rental supply) and any more you can think of. Also court costs which have gone up massively, the practice of charities and councils telling non-paying tenants to stay put and steal more hundreds or thousands off landlords in the form of unpaid rent, more regulations which cost - like EPCs - and other regulations we've had for years and which cost each year like gas safety certs. It would be nice if someone could do a little table of these costs. Kate Faulkner, of Property Checklists, made the point that different departments, Ministers and so on and also councils and the Opposition are coming up with things all the time which they are slamming landlords with, without any of them having the full picture of the amount of shit which is landing on us. Philip Hammond even said on the Andrew Marr show, how we need more rental accommodation (he added 'purpose-built' because of course they are still cosying up to their pals in the Build to Rent brigade) - how they think constantly pushing us into a corner will help anyone is beyond me.... Read More