BTL faces regulatory threat

John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said the sheer volume of regulation from so many different associations was a danger to the market and showed an absence of joined-up thinking. He questioned what regulation in the market could actually achieve and whether it would help the industry in any way.

He said: “Mortgage regulation can only regulate the mortgage advice itself, not whether it’s the right property in the right location. Should we be trying to regulate individual purchasers? It would be very difficult to put in place and there would have to be limits to it.”

Heron stated the volume of regulation could act as a disincentive to entrants and added any regulation must be approached with a thorough understanding of the impact it could have. He added: “Is judging the suitability of a landlord a good thing from an economic, social or civil liberties point of view? It would be great to see a review of the regulations and pull them together under an individual or smaller number of agencies. It would be a worthy exercise to do that, but I think the government has higher priorities. Its main priority is sorting out the problem of housing supply.”

Robert Jordan, president of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), agreed the amount of regulation could harm the BTL market. He said: “There is a desire to bring in more and more regulation. The government has to be careful not to laden the market with too much. We need a sensible approach rather than adhoc regulation to the sector. Some do work well, such as the safety rules and we are keen to support regulations that look after people’s money.”