Scottish landlords voice concerns over increased tax burden in 2019

Tax changes announced by the Scottish Government could reduce investment by landlords and exacerbate the country’s housing crisis, it is claimed.

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has criticised the decision to increase the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) portion of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) levied when a property is purchased.

It says it has received numerous complaints from members that it will lead to a decrease in investment and fewer high quality homes being available for rent.

In his Budget Scottish Finance Minister Derek Mackay announced an increase in the ADS from 3% to 4% from this year. SAL believes this is likely to mean fewer landlords buying and modernising homes across the country due to the increased cost they would face in the purchase.

Statistics show that the tax take from ADS has doubled since the start of 2018, from £6 million in January 2018 to £12.2 million in October 2018, the most recent month for which statistics are available, and SAL is becoming increasingly worried that the tipping point at which landlords can continue to absorb such costs will be breached by further increases.

‘We know there is a housing crisis in Scotland, as well as public concern about the number of homes available for private purchase. However, in many parts of Scotland, the only people buying properties and modernising them are private landlords who then make them available for rent which is often the most desired type of housing in these areas,’ said John Blackwood, SAL chief executive

‘We have already seen the tax take from ADS more than double over the course of 2018 so this latest increase risks landlords being seen as a cash cow for government which they most certainly are not. Our members, mainly landlords hold a small number of properties, operate their businesses on very tight margins so any increase in cost is likely to lead to a decrease in investment,’ he pointed out.

‘We want to see effective investment in all types of housing in Scotland be that new build, social housing or the private sector to ensure the right balance across Scotland which effectively tackles the housing crisis,’ he added.