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UK residential lettings agent organisation calls for tax relief for landlords

The Association of Residential Letting Agents wants the government to introduce tax incentives for landlords after a survey found that almost two thirds, some 61%, would do so if they were to receive tax relief.

'Many rental properties are old and in need of improvement. But this is possibly the worst time for such an investment to be made by a landlord and it's the tenants who are losing out,' said Ian Potter, ARLA operations manager.

'The private rented sector is dominated by small landlords. For them, the costs of improving stock are intimidating. As a result many people are living in sub-standard homes with very little prospect of an upgrade, and we need to look at new ways to stimulate improvement in this sector,' he added.

Although the government has acknowledged the need for private rented properties to be improved, Potter said there has been no indication from officials of how this will be done or where the money will come from.

The ARLA survey also found that a typical landlord-owned property is between 50 and 100 years old and at the time of purchase a third of properties were in a poor condition and need refurbishment.

A Communities and Local Government spokesman said a consultation process was ongoing and it would welcome any contribution from ARLA. 'Only last month we unveiled a major new package of proposals to drive up standards in the private rented sector. They would ensure tenants have the protection they deserve and decent landlords receive the support they need, he added.