A consumer group which supports the principle of a stamp duty surcharge on second homes and buy to let properties has nonetheless slammed the government's proposals as "dangerously flawed."
The HomeOwners Alliance says it welcomes policy on second homes in principle, but says the design “is so flawed that the government must go back to the drawing board.”
It says it welcomes the government’s stated ambition to help home owners, and in particular to recognise home ownership in the stamp duty system; to that end it supports in principle the government’s Autumn Statement announcement to charge a three per cent surcharge when people buy additional residential properties.
However, in its submission to the Treasury consultation on the surcharge - which closes today - the HOA says the way the government is planning to introduce the surcharge is so overly complex and flawed that it will lead to massive unintended consequences.
HOA chief executive Paula Higgins says the scheme as envisaged by Chancellor George Osborne is "ridiculously complex" and may damage the people it is intended to help.
"We are already being contacted by distressed homeowners who have worked out they will be caught by it, and not be able to buy the home they want to. Rather than push ahead with a well-intentioned but dangerously flawed scheme, it should go back to the drawing board and put it right.”
In its consultation response, the HOA advocates a simpler system than that outlined by Osborne.
“It is really simple – no one should pay the stamp duty surcharge if they are going to buy a home to live in, and homeowners need confidence that will be the case. However, if you are buying a residential property for any other purpose, you should pay the surcharge” says Paula Higgins.