Housing minister denies Government is trying to kill off buy-to-let

Posted: 16/4/2016

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Housing minister Brandon Lewis has rejected claims that the Government is “choking off the buy-to-let sector”.

Responding to claims from ex-Tory MP turned TV personality Michael Portillo during the Association of Residential Lettings Agents conference, Lewis said the Government’s intention was to create a more professional private rental sector and eliminate rogue landlords.

Landlords have been hit by extra Stamp Duty costs, the end of the ‘wear and tear’ allowance and the impending scaling back of mortgage interest relief from April 2017.

But Lewis told delegates that the government still backed the private rented sector with schemes such as Build to Rent.

He said: “Our primary focus is increasing supply and home ownership.

“Most people – 86% – want to own their own home, but we also want a private rented sector. We want more institutional money and more professionally managed property.

“Buy-to-let is still an area with capital security and revenue returns so there is still an attractive revenue model.”

Lewis said schemes such as right to rent and fee disclosure rules would crack down on rogue landlords.

Addressing audience questions, he also said he would look at introducing electrical safety rules, as already enforced in Scotland.

He expressed interest when asked about making it easier to avoid court in tenant evictions by abolishing advice that they make themselves intentionally homeless by vacating.

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