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Buy-to-Let Stamp Duty Increase

Tuesday, 5th January, 2016

Scotland may escape the chancellor's latest bombshell for buy-to-let and second home investors - a 3% surcharge on stamp duty.

But the Scottish Government will come under pressure from the chancellor's pledge to double the housing budget and launch a new Help to Buy Scheme in England.

The Chancellor said: " Frankly, people buying a home to let should not be squeezing out the families who cannot afford a home to buy."

It comes on top of the scrapping of mortgage tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages, to be phased in over four years from April 2017, which has been predicted to wipe out all the profits of many investors.

However, stamp duty no longer applies in Scotland. A tax partner from BDO, said: " Investors in Scottish property will need to wait for the Scottish Budget on 16 December to see if John Swinney follows suit with any increases in the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax."

Mr Swinney may or not be aware that, according to recent reports, one third of the new intake of SNP Members of Parliament are buy-to-let landlords.

The Scottish government has only just unveiled a proposed overhaul of the private rented sector, after much lobbying by the Scottish Association of Landlords against a rent cap and other restrictions which is says "could harm investor confidence and drive landlords out of the market, leaving a vacuum that could be filled with less than scrupulous individuals".

But given that the future of the sector is already under consultation in Scotland, it may well be that buy-to-let landlords in Scotland end up in a better position than those in the rest of the UK, especially if Mr Swinney can portray the Osborne tax as one that would drive up rents.


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