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Government accused of favouring foreign buy-to-let investors

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  • 20/01/2016
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Government accused of favouring foreign buy-to-let investors
The government has been blamed for discriminating against UK-based investment in the housing market by making it easier for foreign investors to purchase properties.

In its response to the Treasury consultation on the proposed 3% levy for subsequent property purchases, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) accused the government of showing favour to larger investors, many of whom are likely to be from overseas.

The trade body has called for all new-build properties contributing to a net increase in the UK’s housing stock to be exempt from the Stamp Duty hike. It cited research of 1,100 landlords that found 30% would be more likely to buy new properties if this were the case.

Responses to the consultation are due by 1 February. However, the government is expecting to implement its proposals on 1 April, just weeks after the final policy design is announced during the Budget on 16 March.

As a result, the RLA is urging the government to give more time to consider the implications of the policy, highlighting the potential ramifications on housing supply and rent levels.

RLA chairman Alan Ward described Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to limit opportunities for individual UK landlords as ‘astonishing’.

“This additional assault on private landlords coming on top of changes to the taxation of rental income will only lead to reduced supply and higher rents,” he said.

“The Chancellor’s planned changes to Stamp Duty came as a bolt out of the blue. Regardless of the government’s plans for home ownership, demand for rented housing is only set to increase.”

He added: “The government needs to understand that not everyone will be able to afford to buy a house or indeed want to, even if more houses are built. Its whole policy towards the private rented sector needs to change. If it does not, it will only make the housing crisis worse.”

The RLA is also taking advice over whether the government’s decision to limit mortgage interest relief to the basic rate for landlords is a breach of the Human Rights Act and European Union Law on free movement of capital.

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