Readers of national newspapers the Guardian and the Metro have called for curbs to the UK’s booming buy-to-let sector.
Buy-to-let loans accounted for 11% of all mortgages in 2006 and were worth £38.4bn.
Patrick Collinson, editor of the money section of the Guardian, re-ceived a flood of letters after he wrote an editorial describing “loc-ust landlords that consume everything in their path”.
He also accused buy-to-let in-vestors of hampering first-time buyers and called for their tax privileges to be scrapped.
Collinson says: “We’ve had a huge response from readers. The focus has been on how the growing rental sector is affecting communities and whether the scales of the tax system have tipped too far in favour of landlords who get tax relief on their mortgage interest payments.”
He suggests the government could consider taxing the buy-to-let sector to fund social housing.
Adrian Scott, managing director for residential mortgages at Heritable Bank, says: “It’s al-ways easy to pick on one area of the market, but the buy-to-
let sector has only grown in response to demand.
“The government should take a light touch with regulation as the market will even itself out in time.”
Paul Holmes, operations director at Firstrung, says: “It’s too late for intervention. Buy-to-let has damaged first-time buyers but as the market slows, landlords will get out like rats from a sinking ship.”