If at first you don’t succeed – try, try, try again…

It is often said that lobbying the Treasury prior to Budget day is like trying to change direction in an oil tanker.

It’s possible, but you need to start well in advance and be prepared for it to take a long time.

Well it has certainly taken a long time, but in his Budget Statement for 2011 Chancellor George Osborne announced a change which the NLA has been asking for year after year.

By means of an easily missed comment about half way into his address – or 70 pages into the infamous ‘Red Book’ for the literary minded – Mr Osborne announced that in the future landlords or investors making bulk property purchases (i.e. buying a portfolio) will be able to choose to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the average property value rather than the aggregate portfolio price. Provided that the relevant rate is at least one percent.

This is a major step in the right direction by Treasury, and a very welcome one from a landlord’s perspective.

Put into context, this represents significant potential savings for investor landlords.

For Example:

A landlord buying five properties valued at £200,000 each would currently face a tax bill of five percent i.e. £50,000.

Being able to choose to pay SDLT in relation to the average property value means that the one percent rate applies, and therefore the final bill is reduced to £10,000.

This is obviously good news for landlords, but it is also good news for the housing industry as it will reduce barriers to entry for new and existing investors.

It is also good for the PRS in general as thanks to reduced entry costs more cash is potentially available for investment in refurbishment, renovation and raising standards across the board.

However, there is still a great deal to do in respect of SDLT as the system still distorts property valuations and we hope that this is only the first step towards the ultimate goal of wholesale reform of the system.
For more information about the budget and the NLA’s suggestions for reform please visit the NLA website at:
http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/budget-2011-first-impressions

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