13,000 Newham landlords not paying tax on properties – Guardian

A report in The Guardian today reveals that up to 13,000 landlords in our neighbouring borough of Newham are failing to declare rental income on their properties.

This is approximately 50 percent of the 27,000 landlords who have registered with Newham Council.

Newham believes that up to £200 million may be owed to HMRC across London by landlords.

The only reason this has come to light is due to Newham council introducing its compulsory borough-wide licensing scheme for landlords in 2013 – which the government is trying to ban.

Newham Council shared the details of the registered landlords and their property addresses with HM Revenue & Customs.

After some very simple arithmetic it seems 13,000 Newham landlords had not registered for self-assessment with HMRC.

Oops.  Paperwork probably in the post.

Tower Hamlets licensing scheme in some areas

Tower Hamlets has had a landlord licensing scheme since 1 October 2016 but this only applies to privately rented property in the areas of Whitechapel, Weavers, Spitalfields and Banglatown  which are the areas closest to central London.

So what about Wapping? We closest surely?

According to the info on the Tower Hamlets site this is because The Housing Act 2004 permits a council to introduce a scheme to licence landlords of private rented homes within designated areas of the borough where the area has:

  • Low housing demand and/or
  • A significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour.

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LW Comment

In The Guardian story Newham Council states that they estimate £200 million is owed in tax by landlords across London.

£200 million seems a little on the low-side.  Maybe £200 million per borough?

It should be fun finding out although this will be a little tricky if the government does stop local authorities introducing compulsory landlord registration to, er, save money.

Rather than having HMRC having to do a lot of paperwork maybe all the properties could be seized, given to Newham Council and turned into social housing? Fat chance.

When the Tower Hamlets scheme was introduced it seemed to be more identifying dodgy landlords than anything else. With the estimates from Newham let’s follow their example and force every private landlord to register their property.

Compulsory registration would be bound to surface all sorts of interesting arrangements.