My correspondence showing complete Ministerial lack of understanding!

My correspondence showing complete Ministerial lack of understanding!

9:32 AM, 24th February 2017, About 6 years ago 36

Text Size

Below is the full response from HM Treasury and Housing Minister,Gavin Barwell, to my MP Emmaignorance Reynolds who raised concerns on my behalf concerning Section 24 and the ban on Agents fees:Treasury


HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ

Dear Emma,

3 JAN 2017

Thank you for your email of 16 December enclosing correspondence from your constituent about financial  cost  relief for  landlords.

Thank you for highlighting the report that was compiled regarding this measure. The report is extensive, but I will explain the Government ‘s position on some of the key aspects of it. The Government introduced this change in order to level the playing field between landlords and homeowners. Income tax relief for finance costs is not available to ordinary homebuyers. Therefore, by restricting finance cost relief to the basic rate of income tax, we are reducing the advantage landlords may have in the property market.

Income tax relief for finance costs is also not available to those investing in other assets, such as shares, therefore we are reducing the distortion between property investment  and investment in other assets.

Currently, landlords get relief on their finance costs at their marginal rate of income tax.  By restricting finance cost relief to the basic rate of income tax, all individual landlords   will receive the same rate of income tax relief on their finance   costs.

The report  brings into question the assessment that  only  1 in 5 landlords will  be affected.  I appreciate that this might not be the same conclusion  reached  by other commentators  on the measure. However, this was calculated by HM Revenue and Customs using actual self-assessment  data.

We appreciate that some of the landlords who will pay more tax as a result may have to make important decisions regarding their properties. In order to give landlords time to plan ahead of the changes, we are phasing the changes in over 4 years from April 2017.

The report also highlights case studies  of  how landlords may be affected.  It is important to note that these are rare cases and do not reflect the circumstances of the majority of landlords. As explained above, we expect that only around 1 in 5 landlords will pay more  tax as a result of the changes.

Given the small overall proportion of the housing market affected, we do not expect the changes to have a large impact on rent levels or house prices. The Office for Budget Responsibility also expect the impact on the housing market will be  small.

The report claims that income tax changes made by the Irish Government in 1998 had an impact on rents. However, these changes are not comparable with those being    introduced in the UK. Originally,  the Irish Government abolished tax relief for finance   costs altogether. The Irish Government since reintroduced the relief but placed a flat 75% cap on the amount of finance costs that attract tax relief. By comparison, in the UK the Government have retained tax relief for finance costs at the basic rate of income tax and  all individual landlords will receive tax relief at the same rate, regardless of their level of income. This is to meet our  policy objective of levelling the playing  field.

Whilst most letting and managing agents provide a reputable service a minority of agents offer a poor service and engage in unacceptable practices. The Government is keen to see all tenants receiving a good service from their  landlord and letting agent. That is why,  since 1 October 2014, it has been a legal requirement for letting and managing agents in England to belong to one of the three Government approved redress schemes and that is also why we announced in the Autumn  Statement  a ban on up front  letting agent fees paid by tenants in England. This will support better competition in the market and bring down overall costs. This will mean that tenants will be better able to search around for properties that suit their budget and there will be no hidden costs. This is preferable to tenants  being hit with  upfront charges that  can  be difficult for  them  to afford.

The Government will consult in due course on the detail of how best to implement a ban and will consider the views of  property agencies, landlords, tenants and other  stakeholders before introducing legislation. I would encourage your constituent to participate.

I hope this has helped explain the Government’s position on this policy. The Government will keep it under review, as it does with all tax policy, and it is certainly helpful to have seen the arguments and issues that have been raised.

Please pass on my thanks to Lyndon for taking the trouble to make us aware of these concerns.



Letter to Emma Reynolds MP House of Commons London from Gavin Barwell Minister of State for Housing Planning Department for Communities and Local Government .uk/dclg

1 6 JAN 2017

Thank you for your email of 16 December on behalf of your constituent Lyndon about implications of Clause 24 and the banning of Letting Agent Fees.

I have noted Lyndon’s concerns. The Government recognises the important role that buy-to-let landlords play in the in the UK housing market and economy. At Summer Budget 2015, the Government set out a package of measures to reduce the budget deficit, rebalance the economy and make the tax system fairer .

By restricting finance cost relief to the basic rate of income tax, all finance costs incurred by individual landlords will be treated the same by the tax system and will reduce the distortion between property investment and investment in other assets. It will also reduce the   advantage landlords may have (for example over first time buyers) in the property market. Landlords will continue to be able to claim income tax relief at their marginal rate on the day­ to-day costs incurred in letting out a property, such as letting agent fees and replacing   furniture. Using actual self-assessment data, HMRC estimate that only 1 in 5 landlords will  pay more tax as a result of this measure. Furthermore, this change is being introduced gradually from April 2017 over 4 years, ensuring  landlords will have time to adjust and plan  for this  change.

I have also noted concerns about the Government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement to ban letting agent fees to tenants. Whilst most letting and managing agents provide a good service, a minority of agents offer a poor service and engage in unacceptable practices. Banning fees to tenants will support better competition in the market and bring down overall costs. The Department will consult ahead of bringing forward legislation.

I hope this helps to explain the actions Government is taking to bring balance and fairness to the house market.



My Response to Gavin Barwell MP:

Dear Mr Barwell,

Thank you for your letter to my Constituency MP, Emma Reynolds, who recently raised some concerns, on my behalf, in relation to clause 24 Finance Act 2015 and the proposed ban on letting agent fees to tenants.

I am now in receipt of your reply to her and would like you to understand and consider the following points;

Let me begin by telling you about me and my family. I do this because I am probably very representative of many other buy to let landlords ( ‘landlords’ being the appropriate description, as opposed to ‘investors’!!), who feel absolutely let down and had their whole life plans potentially destroyed by a Conservative government!

I am from a very working class background in The Black Country, attending a local comprehensive school and being bought up by extremely hard working parents, who, against the difficulties of that time worked hard on the shop floor of factories and installed in their children, the values of hard work and non-reliance on the state.

I went on to enter the West Midlands Police Service and complete 30 years public service in that difficult job.

I have lived my life, working hard and looking after my wife and three children and planning for the future. I own my own house and 15 years ago I decided to take serious risks with the capital that I had saved up.

With much trepidation I entered the property industry, as a buy to let landlord. I risked the ‘family jewels’ with deposits and borrowed heavily (1.8 million. In total), in an effort to create a business that would support my family, both now and in retirement! I now own a portfolio of property locally and then went on to become a letting agent.

My children have all gone on to university and we as a family are no burden whatsoever on the state. We are all self-dependant and although this is changing, we are a typical CONSERVATIVE VOTING FAMILY!! I have voted Conservative at every election since 1979.

I am at this moment in time a member of the Conservative party, however, this is likely to change, as this party is about to be responsible for completely decimating my plans and security for my future.

Most BTL landlords that I encounter, who have used their own, hard worked for deposits and then borrowed to buy property, are natural Conservative voters. There are thousands of these disgruntled people across the country, who are turning their backs on your party in droves. They feel, as I do, that their plans and hard worked for aspirations are about to be ruined!

I have consistently provided good affordable housing for disadvantaged people and also a section of society, who would historically have lived in ‘council accommodation’. I have recently been recognised by my local council, Wolverhampton City Council, by being awarded their first ever 5 star grade, as both landlord and agent. This represents the highest standards in relation to their new and innovative accreditation scheme.

So I think I have now set the scene. Regardless of all the TV and negative media publicity, this is how the vast majority we landlords and agents operate.

All my life I have ‘done the right thing’ and now the rug is being pulled from beneath me by a CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT!!!

Now let me address the comments in your letter;


  1. How does this level the playing field with first time buyers?

I’ve been a first time buyer, we all have! I bought the house to live in and if after a

period of time I sell it and make a profit, I’m exempt from CGT.

Not so when I buy a BTL property and I’m fine with that.

  1. How can investing in a BTL property be compared to investing in shares? With a share you buy a part of a company and it either goes up or down. I do not consider myself to be an investor, I am running a business, which has associated running costs, one of these being mortgage interest. To run this business I rent the property to a human being and then manage everything that comes with that.
  1. How HMRC have come up with the figure of only 1 in 5, is beyond me. As you are aware landlords will now be pushed into the higher rate tax band by the fact that their turnover will contribute the calculation as opposed to profit. They will now be paying tax on a fictitious profit! This will inevitably force many to sell as no one is going run a loss making business.
  1. A business is what we are running. A difficult business, which involves the skills of managing what can often be challenging human beings. What other business is not allowed to offset their running costs, IN TOTAL, against tax? It is the equivalent of a taxi driver not being able to offset the finance costs of their vehicle and fuel! Ridiculous. We are left paying tax on a fictitious profit.
  1. Who is this change in tax policy going to hit?

Or who is it NOT going to hit?

  1. The Rich – they remain unaffected. They own their property outright and this has no impact.
  2. Property companies – the directors hold their property in limited companies and can continue to offset all their finance costs, but an individual landlord cannot. How bizarre to create a situation like that?

You point out that the changes are being phased in over 4 years to allow for adjustment. The only room for adjustment is to either exit the market, creating homelessness, put rents up to unaffordable levels, or incorporate with all the added financial costs that that brings!

You are actually creating a situation whereby many higher rate tax payers, who have paid their income tax on the rental profit at 40%, year in year out, like me, are going to form limited companies and pay less tax. Why oh why would a CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT be doing that. Why are you going to force landlords to incorporate? That is the only logical adjustment, as you refer to, that can happen.

I’ve tried to remove myself from my landlord’s role and see the logic in what is happening and I cannot actually believe that a Government, that truly understands the implications would continue with it!!! It’s unbelievable!

Given all these points, and I acknowledge that others have set these out to the government in far more depth and with more eloquence than me, you are still set on course to continue with it. Perhaps you should at the very least, make some allowance for people whose plans are in place and not apply it retrospectively! Put it into place for new BTL purchases only.

Lastly, let me address the second issue raised;


I absolutely acknowledge that there are many rogue agents who in areas of extremely high demand for property, charge extortionate fees. My two daughters both rent in London and believe me I know! However, the moderate fees that most agents charge are realistic and are necessary to enable the agent to provide a good 24 hour service.

We are an agency, managing 300 properties. We offer 24 hour cover to the tenant and will assist in dealing with benefit claims etc. etc. All my staff are qualified in understanding the benefit system. They have been accredited locally by the Local Authority. These services will need to be cut if this ban is brought in.

There are many time wasters, who insist that they want a property and then back out at the last minute. Without the provision of some fees this will get worse.

I have calculated that the loss to our company will be in the region of £24k, which is someone’s job. These fees cannot realistically be passed onto the landlord, the competition is already high and this encourages lower charging agents to flourish. But these agents cannot provide the levels of service that a tenant deserves.

My feelings are that a blanket ban is the equivalent of using a broad brush to tackle a problem that is specific the certain areas and certain agents. Maybe, if you need to legislate, cap the fees?

Mr Barwell, I do hope that you will take my thoughts into consideration and I look forward to your considered response.

Yours sincerely


Landlord and Letting Agent

Share This Article


Gary Dully

16:38 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Barry Fitzpatrick" at "26/02/2017 - 08:14":

Whatever the increase is irrelevant Barry, because it is unaffordable by either benefit tenants, landlords or any other tenant.

The tax is not going to be found by any landlord, the tenants pay for everything that I do.

Is that not the case in your business?

Just 1/4% rate rise is horrendous and the further north or south you go from Hadrians Wall the worse it gets.

Whether it's worth even doing this business anymore is in doubt, the banks are now issuing warning letters to landlords and it's not even a fair tax, so don't worry about the figures.

You've tried being logical - it doesn't work does it?

it's time to stir emotions in your tenants and tell them that it's because the Tory government hates poor people and renters.

They intend to tax them through the landowners or landlords with a new Tenant Tax and blame me for it, well they can fuck off.

The message is,

Theresa May, you are about to lose the next election as you give any opposition party total credibility by not killing this stone dead.

They won't be sidelined by Brexit, every year this is going to get worse and when the interest rates increase blood will be spilt on the streets.

Millions will be made homeless unless they can afford the new tax bills coming via their landlords.

And quite frankly, if you chance your political arm with this stupidity, you deserve everything that you get.

My letters to tenants say that a Tory Government hates tenants and sick people so much that they have introduced swingeing tenant tax increases and NHS cuts, so that their rich donators can put landlords and the NHS out to the big companies, that can't compete with us or the NHS at the moment.

What will go in your letters, an apology? Well there won't be any apologies in mine.

Simon Hall

17:57 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Barry Fitzpatrick" at "26/02/2017 - 08:30":

Barry, I think, you missed Osborne's real intentions behind delaying the Tax for 2 years and then Phasing it over 4 years. The real reason it has been introduced is as Treasury eyed up an "Eye Watering Capital Gains" which has been built up due to soaring house prices and the Ex Chancellor wanted to capitalise on above by having a slice of 28% which equates to Billion of £'s. I do not think treasury is interested in 1 iota of Income Tax as it is Peanuts in Comparison.

To further rationalise his thoughts behind phasing would be, is that, he did not want everyone rushing to sell as this would have resulted into potentially crashing housing market consequently this would have placed Mortgage Lenders at risk coupled with the fact it would have affected the "Economy as a Whole". Therefore he wanted to capitalise slowly and handsomely with smoothing effect.

Overall it was ill-thought out policy however on the contrary it was well thought out to cover their own tracks.


18:02 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "26/02/2017 - 16:38":

Gary I'm not criticising at all. If your business can survive at the current interest rates then any increase in rates is what is going to harm your business (and your tax liability will actually be lower). Of course, the Government has influence in interest rates (despite the supposed independence of the BoE), but that's another discussion.


18:05 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Simon Hall" at "26/02/2017 - 17:57":

There's' probably some truth in what you say, but it doesn't explain the 2 year delay. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever know the full truth behind it.

Gary Dully

20:01 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Barry Fitzpatrick" at "26/02/2017 - 18:02":

Barry, I don't pay for a single tax or invoice, my tenants do.
I spend their money one way or another.

Every single penny I spend comes from them.
Every holiday, chocolate bar, Netflix subscription, wife's hairdo, sons birthday gifts and tins of pedigree chum for the Labrador.

I don't pay for a single thing that the moronic political fools dream up.

My point is to get landlords to hammer this home.

This is not a small amount of income tax they are going for, it's multi £Billions in reality, but only a few million in rhetoric.

We will put new purchases in companies and they will bring in longer tenancies and possibly rent controls.

Only one in 5 landlords affected?

So what?

If you bankrupt a landlord the tenant still gets evicted.

Most landlords I meet are amateurs, they don't tax plan, they panic.

They will feel the wrath of generation rent and shelter, when these costs get passed on and the stock starts to evaporate.

Don't worry about the maths, it's a point to get across as they destroy the landlords that can't raise rents, leaving corporate and rogues to flourish as innocents get bankrupted by HMRC.

My previous calculations only showed an LTV of 50%, but there are hundreds of thousands of landlords with a higher exposure.


These are the points to send in letters to Tenants, specifically for their own MP to be copied into.

Point out that as the interest rates increase that tenants won't benefit from an upturn in the economy as the government claws it back through their landlord.


20:34 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "26/02/2017 - 20:01":

Totally agree.

Putting up my rents by 10% this year


22:40 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Barry Fitzpatrick" at "26/02/2017 - 18:05":

"Truth" now that is an interesting word to use in relation to politicians.


22:50 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "26/02/2017 - 20:01":

I put my rents up 15% last October to compensate for the loss of the 10% wear and tear allowance, the imposition of Council Tax for void periods and to pay for the plethora of extra red tape including the extra cost involved in collecting rent from Universal Credit claimants.

I now have a clause in my tenancy agreement to the effect that the rent is a fixed amount plus any charges (Licensing for instance) and taxes imposed by local or central government (section 24). In the near future I will not be a popular landlord.


22:58 PM, 26th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Price" at "26/02/2017 - 22:40":

I know they are mutually exclusive

brian gibson

13:02 PM, 27th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Totally agree with all the above hoever, after confronting Mr Barlow in person last thurdsay at the "fix the boken housing market " at the Sage Gateshead with selectively invited attendees from social housing sector, develpoers and developerment officers I can't see him or the government backing down.
They are having just the same battle with the social landlords who are facing crippling consequences of rent caps on supported living and Universal Credit to be introdused soon accross the board which they are advising the government will be a desasterous!
If they won't listen to them with millions of tenants what chance do we have !! I'm not saying we should stop challanging them though far from it just saying Hope for the best prepare for the worst
Just a note on leval playing field noncense, no one ever mentions the governments " new " help to buy scheme, 5% deposit from tenant, 20% interest free loan for 5 years from ( not sure who) but goverment backed I'm sure which by the way if you sell in year 6 and there's not the equity to pay it off you don't have to repay it the 20%, that saves the first time buyers being trapped in negative equety as previous "new" help to buy schemes did I suppose !!
How do we apply for our help to buy BTLs schemes ? level playing field my ...............

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now