Changes to the mortgage interest tax relief due to come into force in April 2017 may not see the light of day if market forces and Brexit turn the tide in the opposite direction.
The final withdrawal of this tax relief planned for 2020, with a phased withdrawal over a 3 year period, may stifle the market in a post-Brexit Britain. Some argue that Ireland's decision to make a 'U turn' on this policy is a clear indication that the tax does not work. Landlords will seek to recover costs by increasing rents which could trigger an artificial inflation.
Rents in Ireland have been rising sharply since 2013 and campaigners in Britain fear that the same will happen here as well. Higher rents will be devastating for renters whose pockets are already stretched by the cost of renting in the capital.
Pre-Brexit jitters are already making waves in the housing market, albeit, positive. It is anticipated that the tax will put more pressure on the rental market and may not necessarily open up opportunities for first time buyers. It just squeezes out the average middle class landlord seeking to use this platform as a form of retirement planning.
Perhaps the policy has been overtaken by the recent events following the EU referendum, considering its inability to succeed in Ireland, the Lord Chancellor may choose to follow Michael Noonan's lead and reverse its policy as the uncertainty of a 'hard Brexit' looms.
Ireland is reversing its 2009 policy that stopped landlords from claiming full mortgage interest tax relief on their rental income. Britain is introducing a similar policy in April next year. In his Budget statement made last week, Ireland's minister for finance, Michael Noonan, said landlords would be able to claim 80pc tax relief from next year, up from a current level of 75pc.