Monthly Archives: July 2015

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By Judith Loeffler

Ram 2 ours

There’s no stopping Wandsworth claiming its place on the list of places to be in London!

Property wise, the demolition phase at The Ram Quarter has been completed with work on the foundation and the basement excavation now started. Slowly but certainly the redevelopment of the historic brewery site in Wandsworth is taking shape and the impressions of what it will look like when completed are certainly stunning – explore for yourself here.

As to entertainment, the West Hill Farmers’ Market has launched in Wandsworth – from 21 June 2015 a huge selection of seasonal produce from free range poultry & meat, eggs, dairy produce, veg and fruit, fresh bread and so much more is on offer every Sunday  from 10am-2pm at West Hill Primary School playground. Loads of space for children to play and free parking included.

Over in Putney, the Putney Pier Art Market has returned this year showcasing a mix of original and contemporary artworks, handcrafted by creatives across Putney, Wandsworth and the South. On the first Sunday of each month, between May to December (August excluded),  you’ll find a blue and white ‘pop-up’ tented arts village offering pottery, paintings, jewellery, sculptures, glass ware and much more. Opening Times: 11am – 5pm.

For evening entertainment, the Luna Cinema offers a pop up open air cinema experience in Wandsworth Park. Located on the south side of the Thames in between Wandsworth and Putney, you can enjoy classic films under the stars in a beautiful park, overlooking the Thames.

And finally for a sporty summer event that is a bit different from the norm … there’s the Sumo Run in Battersea Park. It’s an annual 5km charity fun run in inflatable Sumo Suits. The organisers advise ‘you can walk, jog, run or wobble your way around (…)! Expect lots of giggles, smiles and shocked by-standers!’


By Judith Loeffler

have your say

Following the announcement to remove the 10% wear and tear allowance for furnished properties as of the tax year 2016/2017, the consultation on the reform has now started. The declared purpose is ‘to improve the consistency and fairness in the taxation of residential property businesses’.

HMRC is now inviting  feedback on the proposed scope of the measure as well as on the amount of relief suggested: ‘We would like to hear from businesses, individuals, tax advisers, professional bodies and any other interested parties involved in the letting of residential property’. The Consultation will run for 12 weeks from 17/07/2015 to 09/10/2015 and the full consultation document is available here.

The summary of the proposal:

  • Remove the 10% wear and tear allowance for furnished property – this is currently available, independent of whether any money has actually been spent on the property.
  • Introduce a new replacement furniture relief which will apply to all residential rental properties, furnished or unfurnished – the initial cost of furnishing a property would however not be included.
  • Landlords will be able to claim a deduction for the capital cost of replacing furniture, furnishings, appliances and kitchenware provided for the tenant’s use including furniture, televisions, fridges and freezers, carpets / flooring, curtains etc.
  • Fixtures integral to the building would not be included because the replacement cost of these would, as now, be a deductible expense as a repair to the property itself. This includes baths, basins, toilets, boilers and fitted kitchen units.

Under the new proposal, tax relief can only be claimed for expenses that are actually incurred by landlords which HMRC believes will provide a better incentive for landlords to actually maintain the furnishings in their property. No relief can be claimed without actual expenditure. The new replacement furniture relief will give relief for the cost of the replacement asset, less any proceeds received from the old asset that is being replaced.

By Judith Loeffler

Landlord licensing

‘We’ll (…) crack down on the unscrupulous landlords (…) by introducing a new mandatory licensing regime.’ This intent was stated by David Cameron during his speech on immigration end of May.

Whilst the Department for Communities and Local Government has since clarified that this will apply  to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) only, it also became clear that there will be a new definition of HMOs requiring to be licensed. Currently mandatory licensing is only required for properties with 3 or more stories and 5 or more tenants. The Government will consult on the amendment of the definition of a mandatory HMO which requires a license – with the outcome predicted to be that more properties will need to be licensed.

Councils in the meantime have created new realities by making use of their ability to introduce additional licensing:

  • Ealing, Hounslow, Kingston, Islington and Croydon already operate selective HMO licensing requiring landlords of any rental property with 3 or more unrelated tenants to obtain a license from the council – a license is required for each property which of course needs to be paid for and usually requires additional works to be implemented
  • Croydon has announced that an additional licensing scheme will be put into place from 1 October 2015 requiring ALL landlords to obtain a license, no matter the size of the property to be let

Whenever councils aim to introduce widespread landlord licensing, this tends to be challenged:

Enfield’s proposed scheme was claimed to reduce anti-social behaviour and increase the quality of properties to let, though following challenges these plans have now been abandoned. However, a judicial review over a selective licensing scheme for private sector landlords in Rotherham Council has upheld the decision, now requiring landlords to have a five year license costing up to £625.

By Judith Loeffler


The Summer Budget 2015 announced by Chancellor George Osborne last week held some unpleasant surprises for buy to let landlords:

As of April 2016 landlords of furnished rental properties will no longer be able to claim a blanket 10% of rental income as fair wear and tear allowance per year. The Summer Budget outlines: ‘Currently, landlords of furnished properties can deduct 10% of their rent from their profit to account for wear and tear, irrespective of their expenditure. This means landlords can reduce their tax liability even when they have not improved the property. From April 2016, the government will replace this allowance with a new system that enables all landlords of residential property to only deduct costs they actually incur.’

An even bigger blow was the announcement that mortgage interest relief would be restricted: Currently landlords of buy to let properties can claim tax relief on mortgage interest payments and this can be claimed at the higher rate of tax that is paid ie up to 45%. This is being reduced so only a 20% relief can be claimed on the mortgage interest expense, independent of a landlord’s marginal tax rate.

It is being phased in over a 4 year period starting April 2017. The declared intention of this measure is to shift the balance in between landlords and homeowners: ‘Mortgage Interest Relief was withdrawn from homeowners 15 years ago. However, landlords still receive the relief. The ability to deduct these costs puts investing in a rental property at an advantage.’

In his speech, Chancellor George Osborne summarised the rationale for this decision:
‘Buy-to-let landlords have a huge advantage in the market as they can offset their mortgage interest payments against their income, whereas homebuyers cannot.
And the better-off the landlord, the more tax relief they get.
For the wealthiest, every pound of mortgage interest costs they incur, they get 45p back from the taxpayer.
All this has contributed to the rapid growth in buy-to-let properties, which now account for over 15% of new mortgages, something the Bank of England warned us last week could pose a risk to our financial stability.’