ARLA reveals Budget wish list

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is putting pressure on Chancellor Alistair Darling to take radical action in his April 22 Budget.

It wants to see greater protection for private sector tenants during the economic downturn and incentivisation for private sector landlords to improve the quality of housing stock.

It also wants to see reform to mitigate the adverse impact of Stamp Duty on larger investor landlords.

Ian Potter, operation manager at ARLA, says: “ARLA calls on the government to ensure lenders give tenants at least two months notice of an eviction after a repossession order has been granted.

“This would rest the issue of blame with the landlord if the mortgage is defaulted provided that the tenant has kept up to date with their rental payments. It will also allow the tenant more time to find alternative accommodation.”

ARLA wants the government to remove VAT on the purchase of materials and labour for capital expenditure to improve older property brought into the rental market;

It also wants it to introduce capital allowances for landlords improving housing stock over a certain age and increase the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance to include the installation of central heating systems.

On the issue of Stamp Duty, Potter says: “Larger investor landlords can be put off buying blocks of property as Stamp Duty is based on the total value of the transaction, rather than value of individual properties within the block. This almost always has the effect of the duty being at the highest rate.

“Again, government incentives could be provided to purchasers of older property where a survey report and an Energy Performance Certificate show a property is likely to benefit from investment.

“Where this is the case, and the landlord completes the work within a period of, 12 months from purchase, the stamp duty could be refundable. There could also be a “clawback” facility whereby the Government could claim back the refunded stamp duty if the property was not kept for a given period, say 10 years, as a rental property.”