National Landlord Register could lead to tax clampdown, say activists

The Generation Rent activist group has repeated its call for a landlord register in England, saying it could mean more tax revenues for HMRC.

It also wants more licensing, claiming that those local authorities that require landlords to be licensed take over twice as much enforcement action as other councils.

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, says: “Existing licensing schemes have a clear track record of helping councils to identify unsafe homes and bring them up to standard, but the vast majority of private renters are not protected by them. 

“Nationwide landlord registration would give enforcement authorities valuable intelligence about this sector, make it easier to inform tenants of their rights, and prevent criminals from renting out homes in the first place.”

Her group also claims government figures show that 32 councils with selective licensing schemes identified an average of 158 ‘unsafe’ homes each, compared with 63 on average across 200 councils without such schemes during 2019-20. 

The group says it believes licensing gives councils greater powers to investigate homes and take action where they are found to be unsafe. 

Of the English councils that reported data in 2019-20, it says 32 councils which operated selective licensing schemes in that period reported finding 5,052 private rented homes with “category 1” hazards following an inspection – an average of 158 homes per council – and that 85 per cent of these were made free of hazards. 

There were 200 councils without selective licensing and they reported 12,607 unsafe homes in total – 63 homes per council – resolving 65 per cent of cases.

Generation Rent says a consequence of a national register could be increased tax revenues “since HMRC has no way to track down landlords who don’t declare rental income.”

It also claims the ‘tax gap’ from under-declared rent is £540m per year.

Written by: Houseladder