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We don’t want to kill buy to let, says housing minister

5 May 2016

We don’t want to kill buy to let, says housing minister
Housing minister Brandon Lewis claims he does not want to kill buy to let with attacks on landlords.
The government has shaken up the private rental sector by rewriting tax rules designed to make property investors pay more taxes.

From April 2016, property investors pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge on homes worth more than £40,000 and have seen wear-and-tear allowances change.

From April 2017, landlords who pay higher and additional rate income tax see their tax relief on finance interest payments fall to 20% over three years.

At the same time, the way rental profits are calculated is revised.

Lewis responded in an interview
to questions put to him by Financial Times readers, who asked if the government wants to force some landlords to leave buy to let and how he believes the new tax measures will affect them.

“We do not [want to force landlords out of buy to let]. I believe the private rental sector is an important part of the housing sector,” he said.

“The changes create a fairer system, where buy to let investors do not have as much advantage over owner-occupiers, who will not have 0% per cent mortgages or the mortgage tax relief that buy to let had.

“Plus institutional investment will be able to continue to grow and I fully support the professionalisation of the sector as it grows with more institutional investment.”

Lewis was also asked why the government has no national database of rogue landlords so tenants can check they are not dealing with someone they can trust.

“Our housing and planning bill currently in the House of Lords will introduce bigger fines and banning orders as part of the biggest crackdown on rogue landlords by any government ever. And we will introduce a database of rogue landlords,” he said.

Lewis also spoke about house prices, house building and how property values affect social mobility.