Scrapping a tax hike on private landlords could help ease the housing crisis faced by renters and boost Treasury coffers, according to an analysis by research consultancy Capital Economics.
Since 2021, mortgage interest tax relief for landlords has been limited to the basic rate of income tax. Modelling conducted for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) by Capital Economics suggests that reinstating mortgage interest relief (MIR) in full for the private rented sector would help alleviate the sector’s supply crisis.
According to the analysis, if the Bank of England’s base interest rate was to peak at 5% and remain above 2.5% until the end of 2027, as many predict, up to 13% (735,000) of private rented properties could be lost across the UK compared to 2021. This would lead to a loss of £1bn of Income and Corporation Tax revenue per year for the Treasury.
With MIR reinstated, Capital Economics estimates that 110,000 fewer properties would be lost from the private rental market, with the Treasury benefiting to the tune of £400m in Income and Corporation Tax.
Capital Economics also found that scrapping the mortgage interest reforms could reduce future rental inflation in the sector and ease financial pressures on landlords planning maintenance and improvements.
The NRLA has called on the government to undertake a full review to examine the impact of recent tax rises on the sector, suggesting that such a review should cover the effect MIR changes have had on the supply of private rented homes and the cost of accessing rented housing.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “In 2015 the government said it wanted to ‘create a more level playing field between those buying a home to let and those buying a home to live in’. In doing so it hiked costs for responsible landlords and totally ignored the burden it would create for renters.
“In the midst of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, the government needs to put economic reality before political pride and reverse this travesty of a reform.”
Beadle added: “Tax hikes on landlords, exacerbated by rising interest rates, have deepened the supply crisis. And as this research demonstrates the situation is unlikely to improve until and unless it is reversed.
“A radical rejection of these damaging policies is necessary to help stem the tide of lost rental properties, limit rent rises and boost Treasury revenue.”
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