Buy-to-let  

Red tape may drive responsible BTL landlords out

Red tape may drive responsible BTL landlords out

Tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg has warned government not to overburden buy-to-let landlords with too much red tape as it may push them to exit the market. 

Heather Powell, head of property and construction at Blick Rothenberg said: “Renters need rights to ensure rogue landlords are required to provide safe, secure homes but it is critical the responsible landlords are not driven away from the sector”.

The warning follows a number of announcements from the government around improving renters’ rights and helping more people to buy their own home.

Tomorrow (15 June) Minister Eddie Hughes is due to deliver an oral statement on the forthcoming renters reform bill which is likely to see section 21 repossessions abolished. 

Blick Rothenberg argued that if abolished, the Act needs to ensure that buy-to-let landlords have the right to repossess their properties when their situation changes, with appropriate notice to tenants. 

As well as abolishing section 21 evictions, the renters reform bill will create a private renters’ ombudsman along with a property portal to help landlords understand their obligations and give tenants performance information to hold their landlords to account. 

The bill will also extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time, giving all renters the right to a safe and warm home.

Earlier this month (June 2022) figures released by Propertymark showed the number of homes available to rent in the UK has fallen, with only half the number of properties available to rent in March 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. 

During this period 84 per cent of landlords who removed their property from the rental market did it to sell, according to the Propertymark data. 

Powell said it is critical the bill does not reduce the supply of good, safe rental properties any further.

“Any reduction in the number of homes to rent is bad news for the UK economy as affordable accommodation is essential if employers are going to fill the 1.295mn job vacancies reported at the end of March 2022.”

Landlords were also motivated by a series of tax reforms over recent years to sell their buy-to-let investments and it is feared pledges by the Labour party to increase tax on unearned income would have a devastating impact on the market.

Following the Queen’s speech on May 11 Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said the government’s proposals amounted to some of the biggest changes in the private rented sector in 30 years.

jane.matthews@ft.com