Scepticism over B2L buyouts

Sharetobuy.com says its research shows a surge in enquires from sitting tenants looking to buy their rented properties as landlords struggle to meet their repayments since interest rates climbed to 5.50%.

The website says these enquiries soared from just a couple per month to more than 100 in April and May. It also predicts that the number of enquires will continue to grow in the next two years.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently reported that the percentage of landlords selling their properties increased to 5.2% in Q1 2007, the highest level for two years. Sharetobuy.com says landlords selling up often offer discounts to tenants.

But Andy Young, chief executive of TBMC, says he is sceptical about the research.

He says: “We have not come across landlords trying to offload stock onto their tenants. Most landlords are in the buy-to-let market for the long term and don’t react to short-term events such as rising interest rates.”

“If tenants are looking to buy out landlords, I would suggest they tread carefully and think about whether it is the right route to take – buying a property with friends is risky.”

But David Whittaker, managing dir-ector of Mortgages for Business, says: “This trend is logical for landlords and tenants.”