There had been fears among landlords that relief on mortgage interest payments for buy-to-let landlords would be completely abolished so while the changes will hit higher-rate taxpayers – retaining mortgage interest relief but restricting it to basic rate tax – it is not as bad as it might have been.
It is only fair that there is a more level playing field between first-time buyers and landlords but if this tax break had been completely withdrawn, buy-to-let would have been far less attractive to investors. Thousands of landlords may well have struggled to keep up repayments on their mortgage or struggle to pay the tax, especially when interest rates rise.
It is too simplistic to blame landlords snapping up rental properties for the property shortage. People have to live somewhere, and if they can’t afford to buy, then they must rent. With many first-time buyers struggling to get on the property ladder and growing families unable to find the housing they need, housebuilding should be at the centre of the Government’s strategy so we look forward to see what further planning reforms are proposed. Detailed plans are required as to how effective changes will be achieved.