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Landlords urge Welsh Assembly to rethink new tax proposals

Landlords are urging the Welsh Assembly to reconsider plans to scrap Stamp Duty in favour of a new Land Transaction Tax, claiming this could make it difficult for vulnerable people to access private rented housing.

Under the plans, a 3% levy will be added for the purchase of homes to rent out. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) Cymru likened the proposal the stamp duty hike imposed in England by former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last year, citing the Treasury Select Committee view that it “is likely to reduce the supply of privately rented properties, and hence result in higher rents”.

The RLA in Wales is today warning that any threat to the supply of homes to rent will make it more difficult for families and the homeless to access rented housing, at a time when it is increasingly needed.

Government statistics show that in 2015-16, a total of 6,891 households were assessed as being homeless and entitled to help securing accommodation in Wales. Of this figure, 3,534 households were found accommodation, of which, nearly 50% (1,722) were housed in the private rented sector.

Additionally, of the 3,108 households that were threatened with homelessness and which were prevented before they became homeless, 35% (1,077) were housed in the private rented sector.

The number of homeless people finding accommodation in the private rented sector is likely to increase still further as partnerships with local authorities develop following laws passed a year ago allowing councils to use the private rented sector to reduce homelessness, the RLA added.

With a previous study for the Government noting that a “significant” proportion of new households in Wales will need the rental sector, the RLA is calling for the Assembly to scrap the planned tax levy where landlords invest in housing adding to the net supply of homes. This could be new build or bring empty homes back into use.

“The Government has rightly made boosting the supply of housing, including homes to rent a priority,” said Douglas Haig, the RLA’s vice chair, and its director for Wales. “Whilst we believe the planned levy on homes to rent out will most hurt vulnerable tenants needing a place to live, the Assembly has an opportunity to make constructive changes to the Bill to rectify this and back the nation’s tenants.”

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