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Biggest letting shake-up

Experts focus on ‘seismic’ landlord tax rises

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Landlords are facing a ‘seismic shift’ in tax legislation (photo by Terry Murden)


A special conference is being held in Edinburgh to help landlords deal with the biggest shake-up of Scotland’s letting industry in 30 years.

Tax experts from Anderson Anderson Brown and letting industry specialists from Aberdein Considine are hosting a free event to help those with multiple properties deal with a raft of recent tax and legislation which have caused a seismic shift in the sector.

Research published by Aberdein Considine shows that almost two-thirds of homeowners have put off investing in a second home due to the 3% additional levy introduced by the Scottish Government in 2016.

The additional tax – together with the staged withdrawal of relief on mortgage payments by the UK government – is having a detrimental impact on the Scottish property market, with sales down in more than half of the country.

However, Adrian Sangster, National Lettings Director at Aberdein Considine, said the changes also present enormous opportunities for investors who can “ride the storm”.

Mr Sangster said: “The additional tax – together with the staged withdrawal of relief on mortgage payments by the UK government – is undoubtedly having a detrimental impact on the Scottish property market.

“By targeting landlords, politicians north and south of the border are squeezing one of the biggest and most powerful buying forces out of the Scottish property market, which is already affecting sales in certain areas.

“However, this is only going to end one way – with rents increasing due to fewer good quality private lets being available. Landlords who can adapt to this new climate for the private rental sector stand to reap huge benefits in the medium to long-term.”

The Edinburgh Landlord Conference will give landlords the chance to learn about the changes directly from the experts and offer them helpful advice on what they can do to mitigate the impact.

Aside from the additional tax, the biggest change to hit landlords in recent years is The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which has introduced the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy, the new form of private tenancy for Scotland.

Under the new regime, tenancies will have no minimum period and will continue indefinitely unless the tenant wants to leave or the landlord terminates using a prescribed ground for eviction.

The ‘no fault’ ground of termination under Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) has been removed from landlords.The main recent tax changes facing landlords are:

• Restriction of tax relief on mortgage interest

• Additional Land & Building Transaction taxes

• Abolition of Wear & Tear allowances

• Higher Capital Gains Tax rates

• Accelerated payment of Capital Gains Tax for Non Residents

• Increased reporting for UK property disposals by Non Residents

The relief being removed by Westminster allowed higher-rate taxpayers to offset their buy-to-let mortgage interest payments against their tax bills.

Stuart Petrie, tax senior manager at Anderson Anderson Brown, said some of the changes have doubled tax liabilities for landlords.

“In terms of how much the tax cost will be, it’s very much dependent on individual circumstances. However, the restriction of tax relief on mortgages alone could double tax liabilities for many,” he said.

The Edinburgh Landlord Conference takes place at the Radisson Blu, Edinburgh on 28 June.

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