George Osbourne may no longer be Chancellor of the Exchequer but his legacy remains in the UK property market in the form of Clause 24 that will eventually rear its head as of April 2017.
What is Clause 24?
The Clause, known by some as “George’s Tenant Tax”, was first announced by Osbourne during his Summer Budget on 8th July 2015 and in essence means property owners and landlords will now be taxed on turnover and not profit.
This restriction of financial cost relief, potentially created to put more properties in the hands of first-time buyers rather than landlords, will be phased in over a number of years as the basic rate is shifted down to 20% by 2020.
Should I Be Worried About Clause 24?
The announcement of Clause 24 initially created some panic within the current UK buy-to-let market but in reality any changes may be subtle.
From a landlord’s perspective the two key options are to either raise rent, if the local surrounding market can withstand and absorb it, or to sell. Whilst the latter option might appear to be a quick fix, with more landlords selling, demand will continue to outstrip supply meaning opportunities to increase rent will exist and potentially grow.
If you do decide to hold, one major concern will be the maintenance of a profitable letting business. To do this you will also need to consider your new profit margin against normal contingencies such as boiler breakdowns, tenant evictions and other such issues.
With all of this in mind, depending on your operating size, there is the very real option of creating a Limited company and operating all properties under the business name thus allowing you to take advantage of UK corporation tax laws meaning your property business will be unaffected by Clause 24.
However, you should also be aware of the difficulty of obtaining a Limited company mortgage as well as the costs involved in transferring a property into the company name. This would constitute a sale and result in capital gains taxes if the sale resulted in a profit. Also, as mentioned previously, a Limited company would also pay corporation tax and be liable for income tax.
Our advice would be to avoid worrying and instead focus on action. There are multiple options out there to help curtail or nullify the impact of Clause 24.
If you have specific questions about Clause 24, or any other aspect of the property market, contact us here or come along to the next Belfast Property Meet!
It happens every year. The Christmas holidays roll around and after the madness has disappeared our thoughts turn towards the New Year just around the corner.
Everyone talks about their new year resolutions and plans for the future but by February the gyms are empty again, those self-help books go unread and everything get shelved for another year.
At Belfast Property Meet we absolutely hate this and that’s why we want you to set your goals for property investment in 2017 right now.
Developing SMART goals is absolutely essential as it creates structure and moves away from unrealistic ideas in dreamland.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based goals.
If you apply this technique to your property aspirations you’ll quickly develop one or a number of key goals that, crucially, apply to you and no one else.
If you own your own home but would like to enter the property market to generate cash flow and purchase your first buy-to-let in 2017 your SMART goal could be:
“I will save enough capital for my first buy-to-let within the first 8 months of the year and purchase the property before the end of 2017.”
The above SMART goal is specific, measurable within the 8 and 12 month periods, achievable depending on your income and relevant to your property investment goals within 2017.
Break It Down
One reason gym attendance drastically decreases after January every year is because people often expect instant results and quickly become disheartened.
To avoid this you need to break down your property investment goals into manageable chunks that can be assessed both on their own and as part of a wider picture.
For example, if your 2017 goal was to enter the self-serviced accommodation market you could break down this wider goal into three separate elements: networking, capital and location.
Each element is designed to achieve something separate and different whilst still being a part of the overall goal. Within networking you would aim to meet with relevant people who could help you achieve your self-serviced accommodation goal. This could be a mixture of estate agents, property investors and representatives from your bank.
Capital is relatively self-explanatory as you need to generate enough capital to purchase a property and location will allow you to research the best area to buy in.
All three elements can be tackled, and measured, as a single issue thus allowing you to achieve small wins in the short-term but all three eventually add together to slowly push you towards your overall goal in the long-term.
Habit forming is a brilliant quirk within the human brain that research suggests takes anywhere between 21 and 28 days to achieve. This little fact can easily be applied to your property investment goals for the New Year.
One habit would be to read your set SMART goal every morning before you start your working day. This constant reminder will help you focus and keep your goal at the forefront of your mind.
Another simple habit to form could be to check property listings in your area every day. This could be especially helpful for first-timers or beginners with little or no experience in the marketplace.
Over time habits will cement themselves in your brain and lead to new ideas and opportunities and by committing to these actions you’ll stave off the possibility of your 2017 goals hitting the scrapheap in the first six weeks of the year!
For more honest and unbiased information on property investment and development in Northern Ireland come along to the next Belfast Property Meet!
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