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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Government aims for 'sexy' build-to-let

The new Housing Minister Mark Prism has set out his vision for the private rental sector in his latest blog post.  

It seems Mark is on a quest to build a "bigger better rental sector"

Big is beautiful?

I would support anything that improves the quality of the private rental sector and so Mark's enthusiasm and commitment is laudable.  However, Mark let's not forget that big is not always beautiful.  Governments love big bold projects that they can point to as justification to the electorate that they are actually doing something.  A perfect example is the coalitions plans for HS2.  Big plans, big numbers and big.....big costs!  Jury is out on this one.

Private Rented Task Force

Mark is trumpeting the work of the Private Rented Task Force lead by I'm sure the vary capable Andrew Stanford.  I support the investment in new private rental stock but let's face it plenty of these rabbit hutches were built during the last property boom at a zero cost to the tax payer and funded by small scale buy-to-let investors.  Now the government are trying to entice the pension funds into kick starting the developments and in the process appear to have forgotten all about us small scale landlords.  Perhaps we are an embarrassing irrelevance?

Hey Mark don't forget about us little guys!

Just a word of advice for Mark.  Us small scale landlords have been building, renovating, investing through thick and thin and have managed to push up the size of the private rental sector to 16.5% of total households from a low of 9% over the last 25 years.  The proposed 1 billion of funds targeted for the Build to Rent Fund could also be used to give small landlords more favourable tax breaks to invest in buy-to-let.  More investment from us would prompt more building by developers.  More investment means greater tax revenues for us all.  But maybe small scale landlords are just not 'sexy' enough for politicians to bother with?

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