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NRLA and Generation Rent argue over tax ahead of Budget

In a final call on the Chancellor to help the private rental sector in today’s Budget, the National Residential Landlords Association has made a simple call for Jeremy Hunt to scrap unnecessary taxes.

Writing in the I newspaper, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle states: “The Chancellor needs to scrap tax hikes which have undermined the supply of rented housing.

The country faces a chronic shortage of private rented accommodation. Ultimately it is tenants that suffer most. The mismatch between supply and demand, alongside high mortgage costs, are the biggest driver of rent increases.

“The tax system, as it stands, penalises the provision of the very homes people need and encourages short-term lets over long-term homes for rent. This is a direct result of a succession of misguided, tax hikes dating back to 2015.

“Mortgage interest relief should be reintroduced in full for the rental market. The stamp duty levy on the purchase of homes to rent out should also be scrapped.”

Unsurprisingly the opposite view is taken by Ben Twomey, chief executive of activist group Generation Rent.

In the same paper he writes: “With the cost of renting crisis still raging, the Budget has never been more important for tenants.

“Mortgage interest relief needs to be withdrawn from holiday lets, encouraging landlords to prioritise homes over holidays and enable renters to stay in long-term tenancies. The government must also make sure that landlords who sell their properties give first refusal to their tenants, something widely accepted across Europe. This could reverse last year’s shocking trend that a renting household was more likely to face homelessness than to buy their first home.

“Finally, tax relief for energy efficiency measures for private rented homes must be switched from capital gains tax to income tax. The present system inadvertently encourages landlords to sell up as it’s the only way they will see a return on their investment.

“Including these measures in the budget will improve an otherwise bleak picture for renters.”

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