The ac­ci­den­tal land­lord

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

WITH the gen­eral elec­tion to­mor­row, I thought it would be a good idea to look at which of the two main par­ties is the most land­lord­friendly. Frankly, it is re­ally a case of try­ing to de­cide which is the lesser of two evils.

You might think the Con­ser­va­tives would be least likely to do pri­vate land­lords much harm, but the party has proved it can’t be trusted to take care of us. They’ve al­ready taken away buy-to-let mort­gage in­ter­est tax re­lief for pri­vate land­lords and added a three per cent stamp duty levy for any­one who al­ready owns a prop­erty.

These tax changes will make it much harder for pri­vate land­lords to profit, but what makes the with­drawal of loan mort­gage in­ter­est tax re­lief even more dam­ag­ing to ac­ci­den­tal and am­a­teur land­lords who own just one or two prop­er­ties is the fact that rentals owned by com­pa­nies still qual­ify for loan in­ter­est tax re­lief, so it’s harder for us to com­pete.

Land­lords who own their prop­er­ties within a com­pany struc­ture will also ben­e­fit from the Tories’ planned re­duc­tion of cor­po­ra­tion tax to 17 per cent by 2020, so while small in­vestors like me could see our tax bills rocket over the next few years, cor­po­rate land­lords will pay less and less.

Labour has promised to push cor­po­ra­tion tax back up to 26 per cent, which will level the play­ing field a lit­tle. How­ever, if this re­sults in fewer jobs and less in­vest­ment in the UK, it will da­m­age the whole of the rental sec­tor. Also, while the Tories have said they want to “en­cour­age” land­lords to of­fer more se­cure ten­an­cies, Labour is in­tent on in­tro­duc­ing min­i­mum three-year ten­an­cies com­bined with rent caps, which could be an ut­ter dis­as­ter for the pri­vate rental mar­ket. While I’d do ev­ery­thing short of nail­ing ten­ants to

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