Landlords are playing a vital role in supplying much-needed housing for UK residents. However, the government still has the mindset that everyone wants to be a homeowner. The old adage about ‘putting your money in bricks and mortar’ is still being repeated by government ministers. On their salaries, they can afford to invest in property, but the average worker cannot afford to buy in many parts of the country. Nor do many people want the burden of home ownership. However, landlords are being penalised with extra tax burdens and a stamp duty surcharge on second properties, as the government tries to find ways to make property buying more attractive for more people. That has led many landlords to sell up and leave the sector. Now calls are being made for the government to offer tax incentives which will support and encourage landlords to stay in the sector.

Belvoir chief executive, Dorian Gonsalves, said even more landlords could quit as they see their profits being eaten away and more legislation in the offing. The Residential Landlords Association said the fall in rental stock is due to the restrictions on mortgage interest relief and the 3% stamp duty levy. The RLA policy director, David Smith, said landlords should not be penalised for supplying much-needed properties to rent. He called on the government to use taxation in a more positive manner. Something certainly needs to be done, as an RLA report warns that there could be a net loss of 133,000 properties available for private rent in the next year. There has already been a loss of 46,000 rental properties in England between March last year and March 2017.

The government bid to encourage home ownership seems to have backfired. Many landlords have seen increased demand for rental properties or stable demand at the very least. There does not seem to be any indication that the demand for privately-rented homes is diminishing. As a way of increasing the supply of much-needed rental homes, the RLA is calling on the government to scrap the 3% levy on stamp duty and end the tax on new residential properties. Corporate investors are not able to provide new homes at the pace and in the numbers required. Other professional landlords, either individuals or small businesses, are able to provide quality housing and, therefore, support the local economy. They, in turn, should be supported and encouraged to carry on doing what they’re doing.

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