The Autumn Budget 2017 brought some relief for landlords with only a few changes that are unlikely to rock the boat too much. At least not as much as the announcement of Section 24 in the Summer Budget 2015, which will scrap mortgage interest relief and increase the tax bills of many landlords.
The Chancellor announced that local councils will be able to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty homes. This could sound like bad news, especially with many councils already charging the maximum 100% council tax rates. However, the finer details haven’t been revealed yet so we can hope that councils will take into consideration when homes are empty because of improvement works being carried out. The aim of this is to drive up the standards of rented property- something which will clearly benefit the PRS and shouldn’t be penalised.
It was also revealed that first-time buyers will not pay stamp duty tax on property purchases up to £300,000. Whilst this is good news for first time buyers, the wider effects on the property market and house prices are yet to be seen. Critics of the Budget have already claimed that the scrapping of stamp duty for first time buyers will only increase property prices as demand grows. Plus, a relief from stamp duty tax is unlikely to make a dent in what first time buyers need to raise for a deposit- most are short by a lot more than a few thousand pounds in tax rates. Our recent survey also shows 75% of tenants are not actively looking to purchase a property, so is this policy a shot in the wrong direction?