The government needs to address Buy-To-Let (BTL) regulation quickly to avoid a worsening housing crisis fuelled by buy-to-let repossessions.
According to property litigation lawyer, Mary Rouse, from law firm Wright Hassall, thousands of buy-to-let landlords will themselves face possession action by their lenders if temporary legislation is not revoked allowing them to evict tenants who are in breach of their tenancy through anti-social behaviour, domestic violence or large debt accrued before Covid.
Many landlords are currently under increasing pressure from their lenders to start making repayments on their buy-to-let mortgages, despite government imposed temporary legislation preventing them from acting upon non-payment of rent.
Under the present rules, families could be made homeless and with fewer properties available to rent, buy-to-let landlords could either lose their properties to their lenders or sell up.
Recent amendments to legislation include a one-month extension to the blanket ban on evictions, until 20 September 2020, while the amount of notice that a landlord has to give their tenant has been doubled from three months to six months until at least March 2021.
Rouse said, “We need legislation that treats both landlords and tenants fairly and, at the moment, this simply is not the case.
“For landlords, the risk of losing their properties to lenders, who cannot keep extending payment holidays, looms, while the uncertainty for a lot of tenants is reaching breaking point, so something has to give.
“For me, the way forward is a very clear amendment which enables landlords to progress cases where a tenancy breach is non-Covid related, i.e. antisocial behaviour, domestic violence, or where substantial arrears had accrued before Covid began.
“Equally, money must be found to cover the full rent for tenants who find themselves in difficulty as a direct consequence of Covid until they return to employment.
“Only then will we start to see some stability in the rental market – security for tenants and income for landlords.
“Without swift intervention on both fronts, we will be faced with an increase in people being made homeless and fewer private rental properties, all of which will place an impossible burden on the already creaking social housing sector.”