Housing minister Gavin Barwell has met campaigners to scrap anti-buy to let measures introduced by the Cameron government in the past two years - and won their praise for his handling of the meeting.
Steve Bolton of investment specialists Platinum Property Partners and Chris Cooper are both landlords who have for around a year been campaigning for the scrapping of section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015 which they describe as an infringement on buy to let investors’ rights. A hearing to decide whether they can trigger a Judicial Review into the specifics of the clause - which restricts mortgage interest relief for landlords - will be heard next month.
The meeting involved a discussion between the pair and Barwell, with Hunters estate agent Gary Elliott, a landlord from the Croydon area which Barwell represents as MP, and a Croydon-based developer.
On their Facebook page, the campaigners praised Barwell for this approach.
“He took notes, listened intently and asked clarifying questions when he felt he needed to. At the end, he summarised well, asked us to rank in order of priority/concern all of the issues that we discussed and then he put his points across well. At times he agreed with us and when he disagreed, he explained his reasoning. He also spoke off the record with views that cannot be shared but left us with the impression that he understood the situation and was ‘unofficially’ supportive of many our points of view” say the pair.
In addition to buy to let tax changes introduced by former chancellor George Osborne, the meeting covered Capital Gains Tax, permitted development rights, space standards, and the specifics of the housing crisis for London apart from that for the rest of the country.
“We were in common agreement that the lack of supply of new property is the fundamental cause of the housing crisis and this is a key issue for him to address in his role as Housing Minister. There is a common consensus that the bigger house-builders are going to continue to build at similar levels as in the recent past and no game-changing solution to the crisis will be forthcoming from that sector of the market” the campaigning landlords wrote on Facebook after the meeting.
Coverage of the judicial review proceedings in October will be carried on our sister publication Letting Agent Today.