Politicians in Holyrood and Westminster may have made a huge mistake by making buy to let investors pay punitive taxes, claims a leading landlord in Scotland.
The chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, John Blackwood, has labelled the taxes as ‘punitive and excessive’.
He claims governments are wrong to blame landlords for blocking first time buyers from purchasing affordable homes and praised property investors for spending to modernise out-dated flats and houses.
“Many of the changes, such as ending the ‘wear and tear’ allowance, increasing tax on mortgage interest and the blanket increase on tax for additional homes no matter the reason for purchase, seem punitive and excessive,” said Blackwood.
“I know it is hard to make anyone feel sorry for landlords but what if all of these changes are based on a false premise?
“What if reducing the number of landlords has not freed up houses for purchase by first-time buyers?
“Should landlords be taxed differently from other small businesses – on income rather than profit?
“What if all that has been achieved is to allow house builders to build hundreds upon hundreds of “build-to-rent” accommodation in the wrong locations, punishing a small business sector providing much-needed flexible accommodation in cities?”
Blackwood also criticised the Scottish government from driving ‘accidental landlords’ from the market when the country needs to build 7,000 homes a year to satisfy demand.
“Driving out landlords with one or two properties cannot come close to bridging that gap – so, what strategic policy objective does increased tax on landlords serve?” he said.
“The risk is that by taking politically expedient and easy action, landlords will be driven out of the market and, far from solving the housing crisis, we will see fewer of the right types of homes in the right locations across Scotland.”