Since the Chancellor, George Osborne, was released from the fetters of the coalition last May he appears to have started a concerted assault on landlords. Whether this be a sensible way to deleverage part of the economy, reduce overall debt levels and stop house prices over heating or alternatively, a pernicious attack on historic Tory voters with a view to winning some easy popularity, collecting more tax from a community that will garner little support from the wider populace while replacing small landlords with easier to deal with corporate bodies is much debated.
We have discussed various elements of the changes in these pages several times over the past few months but whatever your personal view - unless you fully understand the impact of these changes on your personal situation, we do urge you to consult an accountant and make sure you understand the detail, as all of us will be affected in some way.
Landlords in Plymouth believe they are sufficient in number to overturn their MP's majority and are lobbying to make it so - though the next election could not be much further away.
One item, known as Clause 24 of the Finance Bill is of great concern for any landlord who has financed some or all of his/her letting portfolio with mortgages or similar borrowings. We received the attached and reproduce it in its entirety here - please make sure you understand what this clause means for you and thus what you need to do as a result.
"Dear fellow Landlord
I am writing to you just in case you haven"t heard about the campaign to raise money to mount a legal battle against Government and Clause 24 of the Finance Bill. This clause is also commonly known as the Alice In Wonderland Tax Grab, following some excellent articles in the Daily Telegraph that has been very supportive of us.
I"m sure you must be aware that the change in taxation will be devastating to some landlords, making their businesses unsustainable with resultant tax burdens greater than their income. The extra tax will wherever possible be passed on to tenants, but in those cases where they simply cannot pay more, there will be evictions as landlords either 'upgrade their renters" or dispose of properties. Whilst rents are already going up due to the tax change and S21 notices are already being served, things will worsen in time. As the tax change is phased in, the tenants will be phased out.
Many landlords are still blissfully unaware of the discriminatory tax change, or still do not really understand the consequences. Countless more have no idea of the legal fight that commenced on Boxing Day with the launch of the crowd funding campaign. We are hoping that your landlord organisation will help us to publicise it by writing to all your members making them aware, and asking them to support it by donating.
Would you please help us by doing this?
The campaign crowd funding page can be found at: https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/clause24/. It is already doing well and we"re almost two thirds of the way to the 'stretched target" that will hopefully see us through the UK legal battle, but we may well need more to take it to the European Courts.
You may also find this Facebook page of interest as it has many references, including a link to what is believed to be the source document for the tax attack: https://www.facebook.com/clause24/.
Lastly, some considerations as to whether the Alice In Wonderland tax is really about helping first-time-buyers on the market: http://saynotogeorge.co.uk/is-the-conservative-party-really-one-for-home-ownership/.
Very best regards and Happy New Year
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.