Banks must ease buy-to-let funding restrictions

Landlord Assist, the nationwide tenant eviction and rent recovery firm, believes the shortage of rental properties can only be addressed if banks ease their lending restrictions and improve their buy-to-let deals.

Over the past year the buy-to-let sector has been characterised by a shortage of properties as increasing numbers of people have been forced into rented accommodation due to an inability to get on to the property ladder.

Graham Kinnear, from Landlord Assist, says: “This year has been a year of landlord consolidation. A lack of finance available on the market has meant landlords have been unable to expand their portfolios at a time which ought to have suited investment.

“Landlords have been happy to bide their time for better rates and have focused their attentions on getting their existing stock performing to ensure they are as resilient as possible for potential interest rate increases.

“The buy-to-let sector can play a pivotal role in addressing the shortage of quality housing. However, only when lending restrictions are lifted can we expect to see the supply and demand of rental properties balance itself out.”

But Stephen Parry, commercial director of Landlord Assist, expects the level of demand for rental properties to continue throughout 2011.

He says: “Many would-be first-time buyers have opted for rented accommodation due to the lack of availability of mortgage funding and instability of the market.

“At the same time tenants already in rented properties are extending their tenancy agreements and are renting for longer periods. We expect these factors to continue to define the market during 2011.”