Buy-to-let landlords are moving into HMOs and commercial property in a bid to mitigate or avoid the punitive extra buy to let taxes being introduced this April, it has been claimed.
Allsop, which is the largest property auction house the UK, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that it has seen three times the number of buy-to-let landlords entering the commercial property since the new taxes were announced last year by the then chancellor George Osborne.
“We’re getting a lot of investors into our market because of the [tax] changes to buy-to-let. Once they have bought one, they can’t believe the simplicity and want to do it again,” George Walker, commercial auction partner at Allsop (pictured, left), told the paper.
Landlords are also converting existing single-occupancy buy-to-let properties into HMOs in a bid to increase their income and offset the likely extra taxes, according to bridging loan specialist lender Roma Finance. The company says it funded more conversions cases of this type during 2016 than in any other year.
“One landlord we worked with calculated that in one of their properties they could rent out five rooms, vastly increasing income and yield, for just a £30,000 conversion cost,” says Scott Marshall, MD of Roma Finance (picture, right)
“The increased rental income would cover the cost of the loan over twelve months. In this case it made a lot of sense to carry out the conversion.”
The problem besetting landlords as the tax hike increases loom does have a silver lining though. Rightmove’s commercial director Miles Shipside said the drop in demand for properties among landlords means 2017 is a ‘window of opportunity for first time buyers’.