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Stealth taxes to hit the property sector

In a move which is as much about protecting tenants as it is about raising additional funding, the UK government is currently considering a scheme which would see all landlords added to a national register. While presented as a way of highlighting rogue landlords and potential fraudulent activity, the £50 charge per landlord would raise a significant amount of money for the UK government without actually hitting the headlines for traditional taxpayers.

The new programme, if accepted, would see around 1 million landlords around the UK pay out £50 a year to add their name to the national register. The various landlord associations have been fairly quiet with regard to their opinion so far, preferring to wait until the small print and the details are announced. However, while many letting companies and landlord associations believe that there is scope to improve the sector, there is a growing concern that this is nothing more than a fund-raising exercise for the government.

We should hear more about the scheme over the next few weeks although the introduction of a "light touch licensing system" appears almost inevitable in light of this drip feed of information being released to the press. Quite how the government will protect tenants remains to be seen, as does the subject of who will eventually pay for the licences.

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