Buy-to-let landlords may have to join ombudsman scheme

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Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has proposed that landlords should be forced to join an ombudsman scheme that is designed to deal with tenant disputes. reported in October 2017 that Javid talked about this policy at the Conservative conference, but there are no details available as yet. The proposal could be part of the November Budget.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has a code of practice with which its members need to comply. Tenants can complain to the NLA. Although the organisation does not have the power to fine landlords, it can suspend a landlord’s membership following complaints. Membership is voluntary, but 65,000 landlords have joined.

If compulsory membership of an ombudsman scheme becomes law, it will be one of a number of recent regulation changes that have affected buy-to-let landlords. Stamp duty on second or more homes was raised to 3%, and tax relief on commercial mortgage interest rates is being phased out. Additionally, there have been changes to the wear and tear allowance, and portfolio landlords with four or more mortgaged properties are subject to stricter lending restrictions when applying for a new commercial mortgage.

There is also a proposal to restrict fees that letting agents can charge. This could mean landlords paying for credit and right to rent checks.

Although conditions are more difficult for buy-to-let landlords, rental properties purchased in the right area remain profitable. A mortgage broker can source the best commercial mortgage deals to finance buy-to-let investments.

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