Reduce buy to let regulation or face a worsening housing crisis - that’s the message from a leading property lawyer.
Mary Rouse, from Midlands law firm Wright Hassall, says unless some temporary legislation is revoked - especially the eviction ban - thousands of buy to let landlords will themselves face possession action by their lenders.
She says many landlords - some of whom manage properties as businesses - are under increasing pressure from lenders to start repayments on buy to let mortgages despite possibly receiving no rental income.
Rouse says the inevitable consequence of this is that families will be made homeless and there will be fewer properties to let, with landlords either losing their properties to lenders or selling up.
“We need legislation that treats both landlords and tenants fairly and, at the moment, this simply is not the case” says Rouse.
“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, for instance 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.”