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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Special Effects of the Reform

Special Effects of the Reform.

On the Intending Owner.—All selling value having disappeared from land, an intending user could obtain it without parting with any capital, and would get a secure and permanent title to it at much less expense.

On the Mortgaged Owner.—Nearly all control exercised over mortgaged owner by the mortgagee would be removed many cases the 5 per cent, ground-rent required from him would be a relief compared with the former interest charge.

On the Unencumbered Owner.—It would guarantee to the no encumbered owner his 1891 land value without uncertainly but would take from him any chance of profit arising front possible future advance in its value. It would give him a negotiable debenture, the sale of which would afford a means of turning his whole present land value into floating capital more promptly, and at far less cost, than he can under the present plan raise only a part of the amount on mort page 19 gage. There would be no disturbance brought about in his present financial position, whether he is now in receipt of ground-rent or not, seeing that the interest to which his debenture entitled him would equal the ground-rent demanded from him. To the extent that he relieved himself of the payment of ground-rent by parting with any of his land, he would acquire a margin of income from his debenture.

On All Owners.—Owing to the fact that all ground-rent would be claimed by the State, land would cease to have any selling value, and no capital would be necessary to procure a secure permanent title. Owners would, therefore, be in a better position to get more land if they required it, or to obtain applicants for a portion if they desired to part with some. The cost of conveyance would be reduced by the abolition of stamp duty and the substitution of a merely clerical fee for its registration. There would no longer be any inducement to hold land for any other purpose than use. Thus, no income could be obtained by a landlord, and no profit be secured by a speculative holder. Investors might still put up buildings to let to tenants, as they do now, but their net income, after providing for insurance and depreciation, would simply be the interest of the money laid out in an industrial product. They could not, under a system of periodical reassessment, secure to themselves, in the average of cases, any margin beyond the ground-rent of the allotments occupied by their buildings. They would thus be unable in future to get for their private enjoyment that value which was created by the presence of a growing community and by the supply, at the public expense, of increased conveniences in the vicinity of the sites occupied by their buildings.

On the Mortgagee.—It would give to every mortgagee a State guarantee, in a negotiable form, in exchange for the bulk, or the whole, of the security now given by the landowner to him. The interest might not be as high as the mortgagee contracted to get, but the certainty of receiving it, the absence of contingent liability and trouble in cases where he had to take possession, and the ease with which he could turn his debenture into cash, would probably be welcomed as a full compensation.