NRLA Wales Policy Officer, Tim Thomas, took part in a housing roundtable with experts and housing leaders organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru.
Delegates across the four nations of the UK discussed policy initiatives, investment and reform required for the sector and what governments are required to do to address the shortage of housing once the lockdown has ended.
Debate during the roundtable centred around land use, financial incentives, skills, supply chains as well as the decarbonisation agenda.
Tim acknowledged that more social housing is required to be built, especially to house our increasingly aged population and vulnerable people. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveys (RICS) estimate that 1.8m new homes to rent are required by 2025, Tim proposed a suite of measures to increase supply within the Private Rented Sector.
These included new government backed Built to Rent Schemes, specific planning classifications for the PRS, a percentage of local authorities Local Development Plans to include rental properties and large sites within to include multiple tenure uses – including the PRS.
Tim highlighted that an unfavourable tax regime was curtailing supply within the PRS, with many landlords leaving the sector due to taxation policy as well as possession reform. To improve supply within the PRS and incentivise landlords, Tim called for:
- An end to the Stamp Duty (Land Transaction Tax in Wales) levy on additional homes where the property is adding to the net supply of housing including empty properties, converting old commercial properties and larger properties into smaller units.
- Reducing the Capital Gains Tax rate for the sale of residential properties so that landlords are not put off giving their tenants first refusal in selling their properties.
- Scrapping the changes to Mortgage Interest Relief.
Tim also discussed some of the challenges the PRS is facing as part of the decarbonisation agenda. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards stipulating that PRS properties must have an EPC of at least an E rating to market a property and the current trajectory to have all EPC ratings to a C by 2030.
To support landlords to called for greater local authority advice, tax incentives, an improved provision of grants and green mortgages.
‘Even when government provides funding schemes for PRS, they are often out of limits for landlords. Take the UK Government’s Eco Flex scheme, we are finding that local authorities are often unable to monitor and administer the funding due to a shortage of resources. We call on the Welsh Government or for local authorities to work collaboratively to administer the scheme to make sure the PRS capitalises.’