The RLA is asking the Welsh Assembly members to amend tax plans that could make it harder for vulnerable people to rent a home.
The call is being made as members of the Assembly will today consider the principles of a proposed law to scrap Stamp Duty in Wales in favour of a new Land Transaction Tax – the first Welsh tax measure in almost 800 years.
Under the plans, a three per cent levy will be added for the purchase of homes to rent out – mirroring the surcharge added to stamp duty in England last year.
The move by the former chancellor George Osborne was criticised by the cross-party Treasury Select Committee which warned that it “is likely to reduce the supply of privately rented properties, and hence result in higher rents.”
RLA Cymru is today warning that any threat to the supply of homes to rent will make it more difficult for families and the homeless to access rented housing, at a time when it is increasingly needed.
With a previous study for the Government noting that a “signficiant” proportion of new households in Wales will need the rental sector, the RLA is calling for the Assembly to scrap the planned tax levy in cases in which landlords are investing in housing which adds to the net supply of homes. This could be new build or bring empty homes back into use.
Government statistics show that in 2015-16 a total of 6,891 households were assessed as being homeless and entitled to help securing accommodation in Wales.
Of this figure, 3,534 households were found accommodation, of which nearly 50 per cent (1,722) were housed in the private rented sector.
The number of homeless people finding accommodation in the private rented sector is likely to increase still further as partnerships with local authorities develop following laws passed a year ago allowing council to use the private rented sector in more effective ways to reduce homelessness.
Douglas Haig, Vice Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association and its Director for Wales said: “The Government has rightly made boosting the supply of housing, including homes to rent a priority.
“Whilst we believe the planned levy on homes to rent out will most hurt vulnerable tenants needing a place to live, the Assembly has an opportunity to make constructive changes to the Bill to rectify this and back the nation’s tenants.”
To read the full Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill click here.