At HomeRenter we’re on a mission to deliver a fairer, more equitable marketplace for the UK’s private rental sector. To our way of thinking in recent time the Government has introduced a raft of measures that penalise private landlords with a view to creating more of a ‘renter’s market’ but for us there’s a real and present danger that these prove to be boomerang policies which actually result in more costs being passed onto the unwitting tenant. Therefore, we sincerely hope the Chancellor moves to create a more equitable sector for both constituencies.
Top of a HomeRenter wish list for landlords
Firstly, we’d like to see a repeal or significant modification of Section 24 (the tapering of the ability to mortgage interest from taxable profits). Why? As professional and private landlords believe this will counterintuitively see more costs passed on to tenants and the lowering of standards in the PRS as more BTL landlords sell up and exit.
Secondly, we’d like to see a reversal on the 2015 +3% uplift on Stamp Duty for BTL landlords. Why? Again, we believe there are better ways to stimulate the sales market for first time buyers, such as more building, which don’t risk impacting the provision of quality private rental accommodation.
Thirdly. we’d cautiously welcome the possible introduction of some kind of national redress scheme that might compel landlords to register with an ombudsman or governing body. We can see the benefits of this outweighing the negatives in so far as it helps professionalise and police the sector as it increasingly moves online and do-it-yourself. And if the Government do persist with Section 24, then better identification of the million plus accidental landlords, not least by HMRC, will doubtless see the tax take improve!
Top of a HomeRenter wish list for tenants
Both parties have made a fair bit of noise about instituting longer-term tenancies somehow as policy but, from our research, we find that the majority of tenants are just as likely as their landlords to prefer the flexibility afforded by six month break clauses. So, whilst long-term tenancies can be of real financial benefit and security to both parties, we don’t see a one-size-fits-all approach working. Rather, we’d like to see some form of incentivisation for the asset owners (landlords) to provide longer term tenancies to those renting, especially families.
In second place on our Budget wishlist for tenants we’d like to see more fine print on the implementation of the Lettings fee ban; for example, we are big fans of the move to ‘no deposit renting’ as an option for our community of home renters but we’re keen to know what will be the fate of several of these new online players offering insurance-backed schemes that are solely tenant-funded? Will these be seen as tenant admin fees too?
Our third wish would be for the Government begin to take measures that reflect the fact that more renters are renting homes often into their thirties and forties with families. As it stands rental expenditure is by far ‘generation rent’s biggest monthly outlay but because rent is paid in advance it’s not traditionally counted into an individual’s wider credit rating, and we believe it should be.