Boris offers some comfort for landlords


Voting in the Tory leadership contest closes on July 22nd.  Before then, no doubt, we’ll hear a lot more about both candidates’ potential policies. There will be much speculation in the media and a lot of guesswork based upon Hunt and Johnson’s previous government positions and actions.

Boris Johnson has, however, already announced his intention to make significant changes to the existing, complex and punitive, Stamp Duty regime. These would be introduced at an early autumn budget, brought forward from its usual date because of the 31st October Brexit deadline.

Johnson argues that the housing market is in a state of torpor because of the increased rates of stamp duty, and, indeed, stamp duty revenues for the first quarter of 2019 are well below those from the same period in 2018.

The plans are simple. Stamp duty will be abolished for properties below £500,000, and the increase in the rate for more expensive properties will be reversed. Although the details aren’t fleshed out, the moves are the first indication of a change in emphasis and could well see the extra 3% that landlords are being asked to pay being phased out.

What’s more, there’s an announced intention to put on hold many of the reforms that threaten to harm our industry. While Theresa May is talking about Section 21 being abolished in the near future, the frontrunner to replace her as Prime Minister has a foot poised above the brakes.

Jeremey Hunt meanwhile has been talking about tackling the affordability of housing with plans for a Right to Own Scheme funded by targeting the windfall profits of developers when they secure planning permission. So far, we haven’t seen any signs of support for the property rental sector, but if we do, we’ll keep you posted.

Of course, there’s a lot of difference between policies quoted during a campaign stage and those that are eventually implemented, but we are encouraged by Boris Johnson’s recognition that too much reform and too many taxes are holding back the nation’s entrepreneurs and in consequence, our economy. If we do end up with the no-deal Brexit, we’ll need that entrepreneurial spirit to be flying high.