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News: Agency head tells Sunak - stop hammering the private rental sector

Fri, 15 Oct 21

The head of a lettings agency has drawn up a wish list for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to address in his Budget later this month. 

Winkworth chief executive Dominic Agace says the list highlights the need for the Treasury “to stop hammering buy to let landlords”. 

He continues: “It is estimated that 20 per cent of landlords are seriously considering selling up. That could be one million homes lost. Five million homes rely on the private sector, which has an important role to play in levelling up so people have options and there is mobility in the jobs market. I do think it is vital that first time buyers and landlords have a level playing field in the property market but landlords shouldn’t be seen as the enemy.” 

Agace makes his views in a Winkworth podcast. He's joined by Anthony Emmerson, director of mortgage firm Trinity Financial, who adds: “Buy to let landlords have had a very tricky five years. First, tax relief was removed, followed by more regulations and tightening of the rental stress tests which means landlords have to put in a much higher deposit when buying  property. There is a significant financial penalty on a portfolio landlord, someone who owns four or more properties. If we lose 20 per cent of rental properties, the government isn’t building enough social housing. Rents will go up and there will be a lack of supply.” 

The Winkworth podcast also calls for a reduction in business rates, with Agace commenting: “The high street retailer is at a disadvantage to the online retailer. Business rates have gone up for many years. Retailers need help if the high street is going to be sustainable.” 

 

The Chancellor also needs to incentivise planning reform and cut or abolish stamp duty, to avoid an over-centralising national approach when a regional solution would be more effective, says the Winkworth chief. 

Mitigating the effects of inflation is key to avoid knocking confidence in the housing market, according to Emmerson, who claims: “I consider the biggest threat to be a combination of inflation and its impact on confidence. Once confidence is knocked, it is very difficult to get it back. The Chancellor should take the view that confidence and inflation need to be played off against each other as best they can, with the limited resources left.” 

 

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