April 2017 marks the introduction of what is set to be one of the most punishing tax regimes in the western world. 

Not my words, but those of Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, which has been relentlessly campaigning against the government tax grab. 

The changes to mortgage interest relief will be phased in between now and 2020 – so it is likely to be several years before the true impact is felt. 

However, make no mistake, this assault on the sector, which will see landlords taxed on turnover rather than profit, runs the very risk of forcing landlords out of the market and pushing rents sky high at a time when the government needs the Private Rented Sector more than ever. 

While there is disappointment that various organisations campaign was unable to force a U-turn from the chancellor, the fight does not end here.

Similar MIR changes in Ireland – brought in during 2009 – were scrapped last year in the midst of a housing crisis. This is proof, were it needed, that this tax will not work. 

With this in mind, the RLA will continue its work to lobby ministers to convince them that the decision should be reversed and more must be done to support individual landlords whose role is vital in terms of providing the rental homes this country so desperately wants and needs. While a crushing blow, the decision to press ahead with MIR changes is not the only bad news the sector is facing this spring. 

The housing white paper, announced with such fanfare in the Autumn statement and eagerly awaited by landlords and tenants alike, was little more than a damp squib when revealed by Sajid Javid last month. The paper failed to include any provision for individual landlords to encourage them to continue to invest in sector – instead opting to focus on encouraging institutional investment.

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