Boxing day 2015 has brought us a government consultation and a possible judicial review, will either make a difference?
The outlook for people interested in making money from property changed quite a bit last year.
The two biggest changes were arguably the announcements regarding
1) reduction in mortgage tax relief and
2) 3% stamp duty surcharge for BTL and second homes.
Other changes (or announcements) include the introduction of additional and selective licensing in certain areas, right-to-rent checks, payment timings for Capital Gains Tax, etc, etc.
It all started feeling a little 'bleak mid-winter' but did Band Holiday Monday (28 December) bring a couple of unexpected presents for Landlords?
Stamp Duty Surcharge Consultation
That's when the Government decided to introduce their consultation document outlining their plans with the Stamp Duty charges for additional residential properties and inviting feedback in specific areas - hooray!!
But,,,,,,, as many people have pointed out Christmas does seem to be a very strange time to launch something if you genuinely want feedback. A week earlier or later and most people would be in their daily routines - at work, keeping up with announcements, keeping an eye on social media and online forums, but on Bank Holiday Monday I suspect the only social media people logged into was facebook and for social rather than professional reasons.
Given that many people won't see the consultation paper until the New Year and will therefore miss a week of consultation time you might expect the consultation period to be a little longer than normal but no, it's actually only 5 weeks, 7 weeks less than the 12 weeks recommended in the consultation paper itself.
Read the full paper here - consultation paper
By now this 'present' may not be looking quite so sparkly.
Mortgage Interest Tax Relief Challenge
Interestingly on Boxing Day, just before the consultation was revealed, a group of private landlords began their legal fight against the government and specifically the reduction in martgage interest tax relief. This 'present' looks a bit more attractive and represents a great opportunityfor landlords, agents and other interested parties to put on a united front and challenge this proposed change.
Their plan is to mount a Judicial Review and I'm reminded how successful the Judicial Review launched earlier this year by local landlord Constantinos Regas was in seeing the back of Enfield Council's plans to introduce selective and additional licensing across the borough.
See here for more information on the plans and to offer your support - Jucicial Review Campaign.
With developments like these 2016 looks like it will be just as 'interesting' as 2015!!