Membership Body For Property Agents Plea To Government
Propertymark, membership body for property agents, has told the government it should have three priorities for next month’s Budget.
1. Improving welfare system for vulnerable and low-waged tenants
The industry body’s said that with cost-of-living crisis driving many people into poverty and increasing the risk of homelessness and because local authorities are inundated with homelessness requests with housing options being limited for many, Local Housing Allowance should be increased.
With the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis adversely impacting the employment opportunities for many young people, Propertymark, membership body for property agents, also called for a cessation of the Shared Accommodation Rate.
For many single private renters under 35, the Shared Accommodation Rate places a cap on the amount of housing assistance that can be provided through the benefits system.
Finally, to reduce the debt for those in receipt of Universal Credit, the industry body called for the Universal Credit Advance to be converted into a grant from the start of a claim.
2. Learning lessons from the Green Homes Grant
The Conservative Government pledged £9.2 billion as part of their 2019 election manifesto. So far support for landlords and homeowners has been limited.
The UK Government has invested £1.5 bn to decarbonise 130,000 homes in the social sector. However, similar support for renters and homeowners – through the Green Homes Grant – was hampered by bureaucracy and inefficient management.
Propertymark says it is imperative that lessons should be learned from the Green Homes Grant and support landlords and homeowners to decarbonise through incentives.
3. Increasing housing supply
The industry body states that one of the biggest challenges for the private rented sector is that the demand far outweighs supply and a chief reason for landlords exiting the market is because of Section 24 and the phasing out of Mortgage Interest Relief.
The Treasury has made £14.3 billion in Capital Gains Tax in the 2020/21 tax year, taking contributions from a total of 323,000 taxpayers with the current rate set at 28 per cent for Buy to Let properties.
However, this money can no longer call upon by the UK Government and we have called for them to adopt more sustainable tax measures for landlords.
Propertymark believes that a generous estimate of reintroducing Mortgage Interest Relief would cost the UK Government £1bn.
However, not only would this increase supply and drive down rents but would be a medium-term commitment to reducing the £30 billion spent annually on housing benefits, which is between £8 and £10 billion more than the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast.
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns comments: “The property industry is uniquely placed to support the levelling up of our country and communities as we build back better from the social and economic impacts of both the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.
“The industry can also make a significant contribution to increasing supply to meet the demand in the Private Rented Sector by incentivising landlords to enter and stay in the market by repelling Section 24 with the reintroduction of Mortgage Interest Relief. Our budget asks will also contribute towards increasing housing options and supporting landlords and homeowners reach net zero through grants.”
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