Figures released to a newspaper by HMRC suggest that the voting choices of landlords in 124 constituencies across the UK are likely to play a vital role in the deciding whether Boris Johnson can get the majority he seeks.
The published figures from HMRC are based on the number of people in each constituency who declare taxable income from buy-to-let properties during the 2017/2018 tax year. This has revealed that within these 124 constituencies the number of landlords is greater or equal to the majorities of the incumbent MPs.
“Private landlords could be decisive in who ends up in Downing Street following the election,” says David Smith of the Residential Landlords Association.
Of these, 55 are constituencies with Conservative MPs. These may be particularly vulnerable after successive Tory governments have hit landlords hard with higher taxes and drastically reduced tax reliefs for those paying mortgage interest or claiming wear and tear.
High profile Conservatives at risk include Justice Secretary Robert Buckland in South Swindon, the former Conservative Party Leader, Iain-Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green, and the Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers in Chipping Barnet.
But rather than voting Conservative landlords are likely to look for more peripheral parties; Labour and the LibDems have announced continuing squeezes on landlords if they get into power leaving landlords with little choice but to vote for a smaller party.
The statistics show that the constituencies most at risk including 14 in London, 12 are in the South East, 11 are in the East Midlands, 11 are in the North West, 10 are in Yorkshire and The Humber, 9 are in the South West, 8 are in the East of England, 6 are in the West Midlands and 3 are in the North East.
In Scotland 25 seats could see landlords decide the final results. The same is true for nine seats in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.