Buy-to-Let Watch: Help landlords to get real

Failing to get to grips with the new BTL landscape because they still deem it unfair will harm landlords in the long run

If you want to be a success in any walk of life, you need to be able to take responsibility. You must be able to recognise where you can take control or not, and act on those areas you can change.

Playing the blame game gets you nowhere. Finding excuses for why you have not been as successful as you’d hoped or why you are not where you’d wanted to be will not help you to get there. Look at the areas where you do have responsibility, and take positive action.

So, why the business lesson? Well, first, it is April: the start of the new tax year and the unofficial beginning of spring (March was far too cold to be classed as such). This is always a good time to refresh your business and decide where you want it to go next.

Second, of course, it is the start of a new dawn in the buy-to-let market. The tax changes are in play and the market needs to accept what has happened and move on.

It has been a tumultuous couple of years but how long can we go on lamenting the Government and the Bank of England for making things more difficult in buy-to-let? It is about time we looked at how to navigate any new challenges effectively and successfully.

I recently read the reports on a survey by Paragon Mortgages that found that almost four-fifths of landlords now understood the implications of the new tax system. One-fifth either did not understand or said they needed more information. These figures were revealed in the same week the cuts to landlord tax relief came into effect.

Now, do not get me wrong: it is a complicated issue that is not easy to get to grips with without the help of a tax specialist. But why are so many landlords still not taking the necessary steps to ensure they do understand?

Whose responsibility is it to ensure they are fully clued up on what the new system means for them? It is theirs, of course – but that is not to say brokers should not be helping to educate them. There is a great opportunity here for brokers to prove their worth.

Perhaps some landlords were hoping for a U-turn in the Budget, hence they have failed to get themselves educated. Perhaps they never really believed such a change would come into play.

Whatever the reason, this is the new buy-to-let landscape and failing to get to grips with it because they still believe it is unfair will only harm their business and portfolio in the long run.

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Ying Tan is managing director of the Buy to Let Club