The government failed to offer long-term support for energy efficiency improvements or increase the Local Housing Allowance in a Budget which instead focused on getting the country back to work.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt extended support for energy bills at current levels of £2,500 for a further three months and brought the charges of the four million people on pre-payment meters in line with comparable direct debit charges.
However, he made no mention of the hoped-for incentives for landlords and homeowners to make properties greener in the run-up to changing EPC rules.
Housing groups will also be disappointed that he made no announcement about helping renters meet a shortfall in their payments through unfreezing LHA.
As part of its reform of the welfare system, the Chancellor pledged to fund a new Universal Support Programme to help disabled people get into work.
Hunt also promised that for those on Universal Credit – two million job seekers – sanctions would be applied more rigorously to those who refuse to look for work. The earnings threshold would increase from 15 hours per week to 18 hours.
Universal credit Parents on Universal Credit will now receive up to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children per month which would be paid upfront.
The government’s childcare reform plans should help those tenants with children under five who will get 30 hours of free childcare a week from the end of maternity leave.
As previously announced, corporation tax will rise from 19% to 25% on 1st April, affecting portfolio landlords and those with limited companies.
However, no tax burden relief was offered to the sector, but neither was the rumoured increase in Stamp Duty.
For those landlords looking to the future, Hunt announced an increase in the pensions annual tax-free allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 while he also abolished the Lifetime Allowance – previously set at £1.07m.
Reaction Tom Mundy, COO, Goodlord: “Today’s Budget will have raised eyebrows across the sector. Not because of a controversial policy announcement, but because property and housing were completely overlooked.
“As the nation faces a housing squeeze, rising rents, and a potential exodus of landlords, this critical sector barely got a mention. We hope that this isn’t a true reflection of the Government’s priorities. If decision makers overlook housing, tens of millions feel the effects.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “We wanted to see more from the Chancellor, particularly with regard to increasing supply of new homes to keep prices in check, as well as increased support to encourage new landlords and discourage others from leaving the sector.
“‘In some ways it could be seen as a positive Budget in that the Chancellor left the housing sector well alone. Housing makes such a significant contribution to economic prosperity due to its multiplier effect so is sensitive to even small changes.
“More specifically, the housing market is all about confidence and sometimes you can do more damage by tinkering so we will give him a B-plus for effort and not doing anything which could have been harmful and compromised activity.”
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