Let’s not forget too that Landlords received a boost earlier this month when Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, announced that he will be scrapping plans to introduce a national register for private landlords and regulate managing and lettings agents. However, this news was dampened somewhat this week when over 25 MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling for the private rented sector to be fully regulated, despite Shapps’s announcement.
More regulation and red tape is exactly what we don’t need right now. The majority of lettings agents are regulated already by industry bodies including the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and the Property Ombudsman and licensed by bodies such as the National Approved Letting Scheme. Such accreditations demonstrate the quality of service letting agents provide to their tenants and it is a shame that a few rogue landlords are giving the rest of the industry a bad name.
Strikingly, the budget did not really deliver any positive news for the private rental industry. In many UK areas there is a real shortage of good quality housing for many groups of people, including the retired, and we would like to see the government introduce targeted measures to encourage the growth of the Private Rented Sector in these regions to accommodate such people.
Measures could include a reduced and flat rate of stamp duty on investment property acquisitions regardless of the size of the transaction. This would help to encourage institutional and corporate investment in the sector. We would also like to see a beneficial rate of CGT for individual tax payers if they make their investment property available for letting for more than, say, three years.
The budget also lacked imaginative thinking about ways to encourage investment in the Private Rented Sector. This will be particularly important over the next few years as we will see continued growth in demand for properties from groups of people including the retired and also possibly from people working in the public sector, given the planned pay freezes and anticipated job cuts.
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