Monthly Archives: February 2013

CIH Urges Government to Cut Stamp Duty on Empty Homes

According to the Chartered Institute of Housing, landlords who purchase empty homes to bring them back into use should be exempt from paying stamp duty. 

The CIH has called on the government to offer an incentive to purchasers to bring back into use some of the empty homes in England, which currently stands at approx 260,000, by lifting the tax.

According to the CIH, the policy could turn around 5,000 properties a year with an investment of £50 million, which could create £142 million of economic activity and support 600 new jobs. They added that such a move could cost as little as £2,500 per home for the government.

However, their submission to chancellor George Osborne ahead of next month’s budget also said that exempted landlords should enter into an agreement to keep any properties let as rented accommodation for a set period, possibly of up to five years.

The CIH also renewed calls for the government to raise the borrowing caps imposed on local authorities.  It suggested increasing the cap on councils’ housing revenue account borrowing from £2.8 billion to £7 billion.  Citing last year’s Let’s get building report, it claimed that raising the cap would allow councils to build 12,000 more homes every year for the next five years.

This echoes calls made by a number of bodies, including the Local Government Association, over the last 12 months for the government to review council borrowing limits.

Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the CIH said: “his is about building the case [for lifting the cap].  We want to highlight the potential that’s there.  There is lots of capacity there, we have a shortage of homes and we need to boost the economy.”

The submission also included a re-iterated call for long-term clarity on rental policy after 2015 and an increase in discretionary housing payments to £250 million to help benefit claimants through welfare reform changes.

Tax Relief for Investment Properties

High demand for rental accommodation has provided a significant boost to the buy-to-let mortgage sector, with a growing number of people using property as a profitable form of investment. It is important to bear in mind that leasing a home in the UK is subject to a number of taxes, such as income tax, regardless… Continue Reading

A Guide to the Bedroom Tax

In April 2013, the “bedroom tax” will come in to force. The change to the housing benefit rules will see a cut in the housing benefit of claimants with a spare room.  The government will use it’s “size criteria” to determine the number of bedrooms that a family actually needs, and make housing benefit payments… Continue Reading

Landlord’s Building and Contents Insurance

Tenants are typically viewed to be of higher risk than owner-occupiers, and for this reason regular homeowner insurance policies are often invalid for tenanted homes. Most mortgage lenders will require that you have buildings insurance in place. Landlords building insurance will cover you against a number of eventualities, and is specifically tailored to offer a… Continue Reading

Landlord’s Seek Alternative to High Street Letting Agents

We hear many reports of landlords who are not happy with their high street letting agents.  Many simply don’t realise that there is an alternative option, whereby they can advertise their property across the internet, have tenants fully reference checked, and be sure that they have a legally binding contract with any incoming tenant. Here… Continue Reading

Best Practice for Landlords

Being a landlord is so much more than just owning a property and taking rent each month. Our good practice guide to ensure that you are not only a good landlord, but that you are compliant with all of the legal requirements. Insurance Tenants are typically viewed to be of higher risk than owner-occupiers, and… Continue Reading

Landlord Licensing a Failure in Scotland, According to Tories

Since the introduction of a compulsory registration scheme in Scotland 5 years ago which has cost £17.4m to date, only 100 landlords have been banned. Out of a total of 200,000, the 100 who have had their licences refused or revoked are equivalent to just 0.05% (figures obtained by the Scottish Conservative Party). Landlords have paid… Continue Reading

Miliband and Cameron on the Bedroom Tax

Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has accused David Cameron of being out of touch over the impact of the “bedroom tax”.   Milliband claimed the cut in benefits for tenants with spare rooms in social housing would hit disabled people as well as military families. The prime minister said the change represented part of an effort to reduce the… Continue Reading

Landlord Fined for Breaking HMO Rules

Julie Stoddern of Roskear Village, Camborne, has been fined and ordered to pay costs to Cornwall Council at Truro Magistrates’ Court for multiply safety hazards in her unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) She had already been issued with a prohibition order which forbid her from using an attic room for any other purpose than… Continue Reading

Rent in Advance Could be Considered Deposit

The question of whether rent paid in advance is a tenant’s deposit is to be decided by the Court of Appeal. In the recent case of Johnson v Old, six months rent in advance was been paid by the tenant.  They also paid a separate amount which was taken as a deposit and duly protected.… Continue Reading