RLA Policy Director David Smith has given evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee as part of its inquiry into the UK housing market.
Dr Smith told Peers that it is the lack of housing, not the number of buy-to-let landlords that is the major crisis facing the UK – and said that the demands on the Private Rented Sector are greater than ever before.
He said: “Unless we address supply radically, there will be no significant change in housing cost. Simply shifting the dynamics so that it is more attractive to owner-occupiers than it is to private landlords does not increase supply; it just moves property around a merry-go-round. We must increase supply. Everything else, to some extent, is a red herring.”
Dr Smith also promoted the RLA’s call to local authorities to free up small plots of land that could be redeveloped as housing, after 46% per cent of RLA members responding to a survey said that they would be interested in helping to fund developments of fewer than 10 units.
He said: “At the moment, there is no pressure on local authorities to release small plots. We asked the two proposed candidates for the new (London) mayor, whoever is finally elected, to look at using their planning powers to reconsider that.
“Currently, the mayoralty’s planning interests focus more on building large institutional structures or large buildings that are sold to private sector landlords abroad. We have asked the mayor to rethink his planning powers to look at smaller plots and to encourage or compel local authorities to make them available.”
He also commented on the new changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax, calling for tax relief for those investing in new build. He said: “We would like to see a change to the Stamp Duty Land Tax to give landlords a discount on the 3% increase when they have done something that brings new-build property on to the market.
“Where they have invested money in new-build property, thereby increasing the overall supply, hopefully, we think that they should be relieved from the 3% uplift that will apply to Stamp Duty Land Tax.”
David Smith gave evidence alongside Nick Jopling, Executive Director of Property at Grainger Plc, Chris Taylor, President of the British Property Federation, Dr David Miles, Professor of Financial Economics of Imperial College London and Mr Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
To read the oral evidence in full click here.