What is Clause 24?
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?
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!