Following months of uncertainty, this year will be looked back upon as a tumultuous one for landlords.
While recent statements made by the Government and the Bank of England appear to have provided some clarity, many landlords remain unsure of the future for their portfolios including energy efficiency measures – i.e. will Labour reintroduce the proposed minimum EPC rules withdrawn by Rishi Sunak – and fluctuating interest rates.
But one of the more worrying risks for landlords is talk of a rent freeze.
Rising interest rates have put pressure on tenants as landlords have pushed up rents in a bid to cover some of their own rising costs. This has led to repeated calls for a nationwide freeze on rates.
Having seen the impact of similar measures introduced in Scotland, it’s important that any proposals are mutually beneficial to both landlords and tenants. Policymakers will be eager to avoid consequences like those being endured in Scotland, where landlords have been driven out of the market, and in turn reduced housing supply.
"A rent freeze would remove one of the few options available to landlords in the current interest rate environment."
The result of which is aggravating the annual cost of rent across UK to record highs, with Scottland seeing the largest growth of 13.34% to £997.
The assumption has always been that tenants are poor, struggling and with escalating bills.
But the same is regularly true for private landlords who are also battling with the uplift in interest rates, which in many cases, now likely exceeds the rent being received across the portfolio.
A rent freeze would remove one of the few options available to landlords in the current interest rate environment.
Suppressing the income available to landlords will not only result in them struggling to meet their interest payments, but it will also see them unable to repair properties and undertake EPC upgrades and could lead to a deterioration in the quality of rental stock.
Whether an English rent freeze comes to pass or not, we encourage landlords and real estate property developers who have concerns about this to speak to their lenders to get on the front foot about available options to them.
At Secure Trust Bank Real Estate Finance, we are always available to discuss different avenues with real estate finance and offer unique property loans that cannot be obtained through high street lenders.
Despite the challenges landlords are experiencing, it’s essential that they can continue to be positive and navigate the wave of financial uncertainty.
Secure Trust Bank Real Estate Finance remains committed to providing various financing solutions that can assist landlords in acquiring property finance to ensure stability during turbulent times.
Mike Feasey is Relationship Director at Solihull-based landlord finance specialist lender Secure Trust Bank Real Estate Finance.