James Gray is the Conservative Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire. He served as a special adviser for Housing Ministers between 1992 and 1995.
Writing exclusively for the RLA he explains why MPs need landlords to join the fight against mortgage interest relief changes and how you can make a difference.
“As an MP, I know how hard the RLA has worked to represent the interests of its members and lobby Ministers and MPs to try to halt the reduction in mortgage interest relief which begins to bite this April.
Some of my colleagues and I have energetically taken up the cause with the Treasury but the answer we get is that the changes will, in their view, not actually affect that many landlords.
Even with the changes, Ministers claim, there is no reason why the impact will lead to landlords having to raise rents or consider dis-investing.
The only way we as MPs can answer this would be for large numbers of landlords who will be affected by the tax change to come forward and tell us. We will then have the evidence to present to Ministers to prove them wrong.
Nothing focuses the mind of an MP (or a Minister) more than receiving representations from constituents, especially if many people are saying the same thing.
Equally, nothing focuses the mind of a Minister more than lots of MPs, particularly from their own Party, telling them the Government has made, as it has here, a big mistake and that changes are needed.
Landlords themselves therefore have a crucial role to play in seeking the changes to recent tax reforms that the market needs.
We need you to email or write to your MP or, preferably, go to see him or her at one of their regular surgeries.
Tell them about the impact of the tax changes on your situation – will you have to increase rents, ? Will you stop investing in further properties? Might you be considering getting rid of some of your holdings? What effect might all of this have on the tenants, especially young people or the disadvantaged in life? Will it wreck the Private Rented Sector just at the moment the Government are saying how much private renting is needed, especially in high house price areas.
Remember, MPs want to know what impact the property tax hikes will have on their constituents looking for somewhere to live, so present your case in terms of the tax rises making it more difficult or expensive for local people to find housing.
We need landlords like you, to get their MP to tell Ministers why changes are needed in the Chancellor’s Budget on 8th March.
Take time out on a Saturday to call into their regular surgeries (details on their websites or via theyworkforyou.com). That counts almost more than anything else.”