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Rent arrears can cause problems for buy-to-let landlords

I noted with interest Conservative shadow housing minister Grant Shapps’ call for greater protection for tenants in a property repossession situation. I wonder if he understands one of the main reasons for such repossessions.


Few landlords would miss payments on their buy-to-let mortgages while tenants are paying rent. As a landlord with five properties, the only situation in which I may be forced to miss a payment is when a tenant continuously refuses to pay rent, causing me serious cash flow problems.

This situation is made worse by the fact that existing protection provided to tenants allows them to abuse honest landlords.

Once a tenant has moved in they can easily refuse to pay rent for no justifiable reason and live in a property rent-free for around five months or so before the courts can evict them.

Even one tenant doing this in my small portfolio would cause serious cash flow issues and place my other four tenants at risk of eviction by repossession due to missed mortgage payments.

A more effective form of protection would be enforced notification of missed mortgage payments by landlord to tenants and a quicker eviction process for reputable landlords with an up-to-date mortgage payment record, particularly when there is no justifiable reason for non-payment of rent.

Greater protection for tenants comes from protecting the cash flow of reputable landlords from unscrupulous tenants.

Richard Caukill

Abbeydale Estates

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