Scrapping tax hike 'will ease rental crisis'

Scrapping a tax hike on rented housing may help ease the housing crisis faced by renters, according to an analysis by Capital Economics.

Related topics:  Rental Market,  Tax
Staff reporter | Property Reporter
26th May 2023
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Since 2021 mortgage interest tax relief for landlords has been limited to the basic rate of income tax. Modelling conducted for the National Residential Landlords Association by research consultancy Capital Economics suggests that reinstating mortgage interest relief (MIR) in full for the private rented sector would help alleviate the sector’s supply crisis.

According to the analysis, if the Bank of England’s base interest rate was to peak at 5% and remain above 2.5% until the end of 2027, as many predict, up to 13% (735,000) of private rented properties could be lost across the UK compared to 2021. This would lead to a loss of £1 billion of Income and Corporation Tax revenue per year for the Treasury.

With MIR reinstated, Capital Economics estimates that 110,000 fewer properties would be lost from the private rental market, with the Treasury benefiting to the tune of £400m in Income and Corporation Tax.

This research comes amid a supply crisis which continues to cause misery for renters across the UK desperately seeking a place to live. The Bank of England, the Government and the cross-party Housing Select Committee are among those to have warned that demand across the sector is outstripping supply.

Capital Economics also found that scrapping the mortgage interest reforms could reduce future rental inflation in the sector and reduce financial pressures on landlords planning maintenance and improvements.

The NRLA is calling on the Government to undertake a full review to examine the impact of recent tax rises on the sector. Such a review should cover the effect MIR changes have had on the supply of private rented homes and the cost of accessing rented housing. It must also consider the rationale which underpinned the change given the Institute for Fiscal Studies has previously argued it is wrong to suggest landlords have been taxed more favourably than homeowners.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

"In 2015 the Government said it wanted to ‘create a more level playing field between those buying a home to let and those buying a home to live in’. In doing so it hiked costs for responsible landlords and totally ignored the burden it would create for renters.

“In the midst of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, the Government needs to put economic reality before political pride and reverse this travesty of a reform.

“Tax hikes on landlords, exacerbated by rising interest rates, have deepened the supply crisis. And as this research demonstrates the situation is unlikely to improve until and unless it is reversed.

“A radical rejection of these damaging policies is necessary to help stem the tide of lost rental properties, limit rent rises, and boost Treasury revenue.”

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