Tax changes mean a fifth of landlords want to hike rents

Emma Haslett
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Study Suggests Benefit Cuts Will Bring Shortage Of Affordable Housing
Landlords are being put off spending on their properties (Source: Getty)

Landlords are planning to hike rents and cut spending on their properties by £500m thanks to changes to the way they are taxed, new figures have suggested.

A study by mortgage lender Kent Reliance found landlords spend £15.9bn a year on their properties, including £5.5bn on maintenance, £2bn on service charges, £963m on insurance and £904m on utilities. Another £4.7bn goes on letting agents' fees.

But according to the study, hikes in tax, including the scrapping of interest relief on mortgage payments and Philip Hammond's decision to force landlords, rather than tenants, to pay letting agents' fees, means homeowners are beginning to shy away from splashing out on their properties.

One in five said they were planning on hiking rents, while more than a third said they were planning to reduce how much they spend on their properties, the survey found.

Some 17 per cent said they plan to cut the amount they spend on upkeep, while 10 per cent said they want to cut the amount they spend on letting agent fees and mortgage costs.

John Eastgate, sales and marketing director at OneSavings Bank, which owns Kent Reliance, said landlords must not be used as a scapegoat.

"Trying to tackle the housing crisis by targeting landlords with punitive taxes is very simple and politically highly palatable, but has unintended consequences. Either it means less work for all those who support the property industry, or it means tenants will have to foot the bill for the government's tax raid, or both."

Read more: Opinion: When does being a private landlord become too much hassle?

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