With a new Prime Minister in place, now could be the perfect time to introduce some positive changes to the property market.
A leading expert in buy-to-let has exclusively revealed the type of changes he’d like to see to help keep the sector healthy.
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David Cox of ARLA Propertymark has outlined his five-point housing manifesto, which includes everything from tax incentives to court reforms. Read on for all the details.
1. Tax incentives
This is perhaps one of the most attractive changes the government could introduce for landlords. Property investors have faced severe tax measures in recent years, including a three per cent stamp duty surcharge and the reduction of tax relief on mortgage interest.
Tax incentives could be introduced for landlords helping tenants, such as those providing longer-term tenancies.
2. An open database for rogue landlords
In April last year, the government introduced a database for rogue landlords and lettings agents. The problem is that only local authorities can see it. Mr Cox called for everyone – including tenants – to be able to see it, saying: “Otherwise, what is the point?”
The government has previously voiced concerns about data protection but is now consulting on opening up the database.
3. Licensing of estate agents
Mr Cox said: “The previous government said it was committed to the new licensing, and it is the right thing to do as it will clean up the industry and its reputation. We hope that the new government will take it forward.”
4. Court system reform
It can take months to evict a tenant under the current system, and now the government is looking to ban Section 21. This would ban landlords from evicting a tenant at short notice, with no reason, which would have the knock-on effect of putting further pressure on the current eviction process.
By introducing dedicated housing courts, the time that it would take for landlords to gain possession of a property could be cut considerably.
5. Introduction of property MOTs
Rental properties, like cars, could become subject to an annual MOT to ensure they meet statutory requirements. This would mean that local councils could get rid of much more expensive licensing schemes that are currently in place and improve enforcement.
A property MOT would give landlords a steer on what maintenance they need to do and it would improve the condition of a property for tenants.
Mr Cox said: “This could be a massive step forward. It would be replacing the old regulation that doesn’t work with one that does. And it would be much more effective in maintaining standards.”