The intermediary Mortgage Lenders’ Association (IMLA) has responded to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) consultation paper on buy-to-let mortgages.
“IMLA welcomes the opportunity to take part in the PRA’s consultation on buy-to-let mortgage underwriting standards,” said Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA. “It is important that lenders and regulators work together to ensure good standards in lending are maintained. The aim of making best practice an industry standard is commendable, as is the pursuit of a sustainable approach to buy-to-let lending.
“On the face of it, most lenders will have little to fear from these proposals, especially given that many have already undertaken similar assessments. However, it is important that these rules do not set minimum standards at a level any higher than is necessary to achieve a sustainable level of activity.
“Buy-to-let plays a significant role in supporting the private rental sector to meet housing demand from the UK’s growing population. The consultation needs to bear in mind their potential effects on the supply of rented property and levels of rent, factors which are oddly excluded from the impact assessment. This is critical at a time when buy-to-let is already feeling the full force of regulatory layering, with changes to stamp duty and mortgage tax relief underway and the debate ongoing about the macro-prudential controls which are still to be introduced. We assume the PRA standards and any FPC requirements will be aligned but we now have a further period of uncertainty before that can be clarified.
“We would also caution against a broad-brush ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that risks dumbing down the market. It is encouraging that the rules include some flexibility for lenders to use other disposable income in affordability assessments. To make the proposals practical, the consultation should consider how lenders will need to model landlords’ costs and also how they calculate the level of rent for affordability assessments.”