Government urged to raise tax-free threshold for letters
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
Westminster negotiates lower private rents on former council flats
The government is being urged to raise the threshold for the amount letters can make before being taxed - to boost the supply of housing.
The threshold, currently £4,250 a year, hasn't changed since 1997.
Only 33% of rented rooms in the UK are below the threshold. In London, there are no areas with average room rents under £4,250 per year.
The flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk is now urging the government to raise the tax-free threshold to £7,500 per year in an urgent bid to boost supply.
SpareRoom’s 'Raise The Roof' campaign, which is supported by housing charity Shelter, calls on the government to raise this allowance immediately and increase it year-on-year in line with inflation.
If the current threshold had risen in line with inflation, the allowance would now be at least £6,500 - still considerably below average London room rents. Since 1997, room rents have more than doubled (103%) in the capital.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “We’re in the middle of a massive housing crisis in the UK with house prices and rents becoming unaffordable. Everyone agrees we need to build more but we also need to be clever about how we use existing stock.
“Homeowners are sitting on an estimated 15 million spare bedrooms in England alone. Encouraging them to let those rooms by raising the Rent A Room Scheme threshold will not only help them cope better with the cost of living crisis, but will also go some way to solving the supply issue.
“The current threshold discourages people from letting rooms because they’ll have to spend time filling out tax returns. Increasing the Rent A Room limit to reflect the market will act as an incentive to many cash-strapped homeowners, while reducing the pressure on the hyper competitive rental market within the capital and across the UK.”