The impact of recent changes to the way buy to let properties in the UK are taxed could create the next pension crisis as individuals are becoming over reliant on property to fund their retirement years, it is claimed.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) is warning that some 77% of landlords, approximately 1.8 million, say they are reliant on their residential property investment for their retirement.
Findings from the Mintel consumer market research report show that buy to let continues to be viewed as a safe way to save for later life, with 68% of people saying it represents a good way to plan for retirement.
However, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate the average retired household spends £21,770 every year, which leaves a shortfall of more than £15,000 after taking the full basic state pension of £6,359.60 into account.
In order to make up a £15,000 shortfall per year would require savings in the region of £300,000, which is why the NLA believes so many people have turned to property to provide for later life.
‘As a consequence of government policy over recent decades almost two million people are reliant on their property to fund their later years,’ said Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the NLA.
‘But the changing tax regime will substantially reduce the income they receive from these investments and so compromise the retirement plans of a significant number of hard working people,’ he pointed out.
‘Some 27% of UK landlords are already retired and 37% are aged 55 or over, so there is a pressing need to tackle these issues without delay,’ he added.
The NLA is calling on the Government to help those affected adjust their financial plans by tapering the amount of capital gains tax (CGT) landlords will need to pay when they come to selling their property, based on how long they have owned and let it out for.
‘Landlords who have invested in residential property for the long term are different from short term speculators who buy and develop properties, and this should be recognised when it comes to how much capital gains tax they pay when they decide to sell,’ Lambert explained.
‘It is not always in the best interests for landlords to continue to manage residential property into later life. A capital gains relief like we propose would provide an incentive to sell, allowing people to sell poorly performing properties and potentially purchase an annuity or invest in more liquid, lower risk assets to fund their retirement instead,’ he concluded.