"We hope to see growing confidence among landlords that they can access the finance they need and remortgage if they let to a tenant in receipt of housing benefits"
Despite NatWest’s much-discussed move to allow its buy-to-let landlords to rent their properties to tenants who are in receipt of benefits, brokers are still unsure how they would source a buy-to-let product suitable for tenants on benefits, research has shown.
56% of those surveyed by Insights at the recent Buy-to-Let Roadshow events by Financial Reporter stated they were not confident in knowing which lenders would allow their client to rent to tenants who received benefits.
The survey asked over 100 advisers if they had ever placed a client with a buy-to-let product which allowed them to rent to tenants in receipt of housing benefits. 32% said they had, 59% hadn’t and the remaining 9% were unsure.
Earlier this month, NatWest announced it would lift the restrictions on tenants in receipt of benefits, and confirmed it will extend the maximum length of time of assured shorthold tenancy from 12 months to 36 months, allowing landlords to offer tenants more security.
Property search website Zoopla followed suit last week, implementing a number of changes which include prohibiting the inclusion of 'No DSS' restrictions on the site, removing the references from listings on the Zoopla website and removing the 'No DSS' fields in its cloud-based software products.
These moves follow a campaign by the Work and Pensions Committee who wrote to several mortgage lenders about potential DSS discrimination clauses in their lending policies.
Despite the recent changes, however, it seems advisers don’t believe the move will affect demand for buy-to-let products.
55% don’t believe that the removal of restrictions will make any difference to the demand for buy-to-let lending.
However 44% did think the looser criteria would prompt more borrowers to seek out a buy-to-let loan.
Just one respondent thought that demand for buy-to-let loans would decrease as a result of lenders lifting DSS restrictions.
Insights has been developed throughout 2018 and makes use of a purpose-built digital platform upon which advisers can share their thoughts, experience and market confidence via monthly surveys.
To join the Insights mailing list and get future market research surveys straight to your inbox, visit www.project-insights.co.uk.
Financial Reporter holds dozens of webinars and broker roadshows throughout the UK each year – our commitment to supporting the professional development, education, and business opportunities of our readers.
For information on all of our upcoming events, visit www.financialreporter.co.uk/roadshows.
Rozi Jones, editor at Financial Reporter, said: “The industry, in particular the Residential Landlords Association, has actively campaigned to end discrimination against tenants who are on benefits.
“As more and more lenders follow the example of NatWest, we hope to see growing confidence among landlords that they can access the finance they need and remortgage if they let to a tenant in receipt of housing benefits, leading to greater competition in the market.
“Although a small majority of the brokers we questioned don’t currently think that the changes will many any difference to demand for buy-to-let lending, a large amount are still unaware of how to deal with buy-to-let clients in this situation. We hope that as this change in criteria gains more traction, brokers will realise that landlords could potentially let to a wider variety of tenants and this will provide an opportunity to increase business.”