George Osborne’s ‘tax grab’ on the BTL industry has been slammed by a Conservative peer, who is now calling on landlords to lobby their MP and reverse the damaging legislation.

Lord Flight, a former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, warned the tax changes could force thousands of landlords to exit the market and reduce the supply of housing.

At the start of the year he said changes to BTL could trigger a ‘sharp fall in prices, if not a crash’ and would also put tenants’ security at risk. 

The stamp duty surcharge, introduced in April, would serve to drive up rents he said in a recent article, published on the Residential Landlords Association (RLA)’s website.

Lord Flight wrote: “In short, the previous Chancellor’s assault on landlords exacerbated the housing crisis. By going on a cash grab against landlords his policies are serving to drive up rents; drive out investment in the sector at a time when the RICS suggests we need 1.8 million new homes to rent by 2025; and to push more tenants into the arms of the minority of unscrupulous landlords.”

Mr Osborne’s changes were intended to level the playing field between first time buyers and homeowners, but Lord Flight pointed to evidence from the London School of Economics which suggests the property purchases of landlords were not impacting on would-be home-owners.

And he highlighted claims by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that landlords are taxed ‘more heavily’ than homeowners.

He is now calling on landlords to contact their MPs and tell them about impact of the tax changes on their businesses and encourage them to make changes in the new Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 23.

RLA chairman Alan Ward backed Lord Flight’s analysis and said the tax changes would ‘choke off investment, increase rents and make it more difficult for tenants to save for a home of their own.’