Financial & Legal News

Tax relief changes for buy-to-let landlords

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From 6 April 2017, the government will start to restrict basic rate, income tax relief for landlords' finance costs on residential properties.

Latest research by YouGov*, after surveying 925 mortgaged buy-to-let landlords in December and January, suggests that most buy-to-let landlords know about the impending changes and are preparing themselves. Others are not so worried – perhaps because they do not already take advantage of mortgage interest relief or fall below the threshold for paying income tax.

Tax relief changes

The tax changes will affect individuals who receive rental income on residential property in the UK or elsewhere and incur finance costs (such as mortgage interest) (excluding where the property meets all the criteria to be a furnished holiday letting).

The government’s aim is to make the tax system fairer and to ensure that landlords with higher incomes no longer receive the most generous tax treatment. This change will be introduced gradually over the four years from 2017 to give landlords time to adjust:

  • in 2017 to 2018 the deduction from property income (as is currently allowed) will be restricted to 75% of finance costs, with the remaining 25% being available as a basic rate tax reduction;
  • in 2018 to 2019, 50% finance costs deduction and 50% given as a basic rate tax reduction;
  • in 2019 to 2020, 25% finance costs deduction and 75% given as a basic rate tax reduction; and
  • from 2020 to 2021, all financing costs incurred by a landlord will be given as a basic rate tax reduction.

Planning ahead

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) queried whether those landlords who thought the changes would not affect them, (about 30% of those polled in their own survey in late 2016), could be in for a rude awakening. That said, the CML highlighted several reasons why the changes might not affect a landlord:

For example, if you operate your lettings through a corporate structure, fall below the threshold for paying income tax, transfer the property to a spouse who does not pay tax, or do not take advantage of mortgage interest relief in the first place, the changes would not affect you.

Individual landlords are concerned about the effect that higher tax bills will have on their business and are taking steps to bolster their income. Some are planning to increase rent to cover the lost income while others are planning to transfer ownership of the property into a corporate structure or to a partner.

*As referred to in the Council of Mortgage Lenders report of 7 March 2017: Bracing for Impact: How aware are buy-to-let landlords of changes?

Further information


To discuss issues relating to buy-to-let properties, contact:

Richard Eastwood, on financial services and wealth management, on 0161 785 4549 or make an enquiry.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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