Although increased protection for smaller, less experienced landlords may be welcome, professional landlords who treat their lettings as a business do not require the same level of protection. In the FSA’s proposals outlined yesterday, buy-to-let would be brought within the FSA’s regulatory regime thereby, they claim, strengthening oversight arrangements and potentially ‘protecting consumers making investment decisions on property’.
David Salusbury, chairman, NLA, said: “As with all proposals, the devil will be in the detail but the FSA may come across problems of definition. When does a so-called ‘amateur landlord’ become a professional landlord? How large does a property portfolio need to become? The answers to these questions may well indicate exactly which investors are in need of further protection and which are capable of protecting their own interests quite adequately.
”While the paper presents a logical approach to the regulation of buy-to-let, the focus should be about getting lenders lending once more. The lack of mortgage finance is hampering the housing recovery and, therefore, reducing the available housing stock on offer to those who choose to rent.
”The majority of landlords are financially sound and approach their lettings business in a professional and business-like way. We must ensure this fact is at the heart of all discussions relating to regulation which will affect landlords.”