Buy to Let Repossessions Up in the UK

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The number of buy to let repossessions of investment properties in the UK rose substantially in the third quarter of 2019.

Figures released this week from banking trade body UK Finance revealed a 40 per cent rise in buy to let repossessions on last year. 

Around 800 buy to let repossessions were carried out in the third quarter of 2019, compared to 570 in the same quarter of the previous year.

However, there were 4,550 buy to let mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in the third quarter of 2019, five per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

The number of buy to let investors in arrears of between 5 per cent and 7.5 per cent of the outstanding balance also fell by 21 per cent over the year.

In contrast, the number of buy to let investors in arrears of between 7.5 and 10 per cent grew by 9 per cent, while the number in arrears of over 10 per cent dropped just 1 per cent, according to the UK Finance figures.

However, the banking trade body has stated that it believes the large increase in buy to let repossessions due partly to a ‘backlog of historic cases’.

Rules were changed two years ago by the city regulator on how lenders have to calculate how much a borrower owes each month if they fall into arrears. This has led to lenders reviewing a large number of cases on an individual basis and applying for buy to let repossessions ‘only when all other options have been exhausted’ according to UK Finance.

However, David Smith of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said: ‘Repossessions for mortgage arrears take place for many different reasons.

‘Mortgage interest relief changes, which are now almost fully implemented, the increasing cost of regulation and the ever-increasing time to repossess a property are all major factors.’

‘Since most repossessions of this kind lead to tenants being evicted it is vital that the next government actively supports the majority of landlords doing a good job to provide the homes to rent the country needs.’

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