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Pathetic Response From Grant Shapps

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I got this reply from Grant Shapps, the new Tory housing minister, following a letter where I complained about the cancellation of quite sensible proposals for a register of landlords & letting agencies. I made several 'pro' points - notably the huge extent of Tax Avoidance among the small-scale BTL crowd (on both rental income and CGT on disposal) - but these were ignored in favour of some 'cut and paste' paragraphs which simply spell out a Keith Josephs retro/default Right-wing Headbanger approach which sees all Regulation = Red Tapel, despite the promise of tens, possibly hundreds of millions of additional revenue to the taxpayer.

Anyway here's his letter. Anyone hoping for a reduction in VI-favoring mendacity from the new crop of ConDem pols, prepare to be disappointed: (my emphasis)

As you know, the Government will not be taking forward the regulatory measures proposed by the previous Government in response to the independent Rugg review of the private rented sector. These measures included a national register of landlords and mandatory regulation of letting and managing agents. Ministers are satisfied that
the current legislation strikes a fair balance between the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants
. In the past
over-regulation drove many landlords out of the rental market. Ministers, therefore, have no plans to further regulate the sector as this would only introduce new burdens which would have the effect of reducing the numbers of properties to rent which would not help tenants or landlords
.
With regard to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), landlords require a licence from their local authority for these under the Housing Act 2004. The local authority can then impose conditions such as requirements for licensed properties to be occupied by a specified maximum number of occupants, and ensuring that there are adequate amenities in place, whilst landlords will need to be identified as being “fit and proper” in terms of their suitability to manage the property. Should a landlord of a licensable property fail to meet any conditions attached to a licence then they would be subject to a fine of £5,000, and in the most serious cases could have their licence revoked.
In addition, Ministers have recently announced their plans to give local authorities more flexibility to manage HMOs
without tying landlords in red tape
, so that in those areas experiencing problems from high concentrations of HMOs, local authorities will still be able to take local action to control HMO development and require planning applications for changes of use from family dwelling houses to small HMOs. Further details be found in the news release on the Department's website at:
http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/housing/1617158.' rel="external nofollow">
Finally, as you may have seen, the Government announced in the recent Budget that Local Housing Allowance Rates (LHA), which are used to calculate Housing Benefit, will now be capped at £250 for a one bedroom property, £290 for two, £340 for three and £400 for a four bedroom property. LHA rates will now also be based on the thirtieth percentile of rents of the local area rather than the fiftieth percentile. This reform means hard working individuals and families will no longer have to subsidise people living in properties they themselves could not afford.

Anyway, carte blanche to all those tax-evading mini Rachmans out there, courtesy of another brainless stuffed suit from Central Office. The LHA rates proposal is a good one but you can be sure on this form it came from Gorgeous Osborne at the Treasury not DOSAC or whatever the real-life name of the communities department is.

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I got a similar response from him after my MP forwarded my letter about CGT and the difficulties of FTBs. Basically he spouted the usual tripe about building more homes. But the worsed bit was this 'alongside this we will focus on addressing issues of mortgage availability....'

It does say that borrowers will need to 'demonstrate financial responsibility' but to be honest I'm quite discusted by the reply. I'll scan the letter at some point and put it on here. I will send a reply to him when I get round to it and have a good old rant aswell.

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I thought the inland revenue WERE cracking down on this - doesn't require a register, just some elementary data-mining from the land registry

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as this would only introduce new burdens which would have the effect of reducing the numbers of properties to rent which would not help tenants or landlords.

What does he think would happen to a property? that it would magically disappear when the landlord disposed of it?

I am sure that there is an "optimum" proportion of rentals in an economy, but I suspect that with reasonably-priced housing, it would be less than the current fraction,

Peter.

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What does he think would happen to a property? that it would magically disappear when the landlord disposed of it?

I am sure that there is an "optimum" proportion of rentals in an economy, but I suspect that with reasonably-priced housing, it would be less than the current fraction,

Peter.

What? I know the rental sector has increased slightly over the last few years but it still must be near the smallest seen in the history of the planet.

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I thought the inland revenue WERE cracking down on this - doesn't require a register, just some elementary data-mining from the land registry

But in reality that would require some data-mining from the land registry's public sector employees - if the bovvered. :(

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Less of the "we", please. I knew just what to expect.

This is the Conservatives we're talking about. They're the party of the landlords.

Where's the surprise in all of this?

Well... since '97 Labour has been the party of the landlords .... whatever happened to Thatch's property owning democracy? On the way out according to the ONS.

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Well... since '97 Labour has been the party of the landlords .... whatever happened to Thatch's property owning democracy? On the way out according to the ONS.

"Thatch's property owning democracy" only ever applied to those who could afford to buy - and public sector tenants, for ideological reasons, in order to reduce the state-owned stock.

The excuse was that "people should end up with something to show for all the money they've paid out over the years". I was renting privately at the time and wrote asking the Tories what I'd be getting for all the money I'd be paying out. The reply I got was that I couldn't expect anything as the flat I was renting was the property of the landlord. Their advice was that I should put my name on the waiting list for public housing and then when I eventually got a flat/house, wait to buy it!

Anyway, whatever about the past... The fact is that the present government is solidly behind landlords.

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Their advice was that I should put my name on the waiting list for public housing and then when I eventually got a flat/house, wait to buy it!

Have you been on that waitinglist ever since the 1980s?

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What? I know the rental sector has increased slightly over the last few years but it still must be near the smallest seen in the history of the planet.

Possibly.

But how many rentals does our economy need? If everyone who wanted to could buy, then you would only need rentals for people temporarily living in a place, and for those who could not afford to buy. Against this metric, do we have too many or too few rentals?

Peter.

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  • 142 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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