THE GREEN MORTGAGE DRIVE

A growing number of landlords, homeowners and tenants are highlighting energy efficiency to help both the environment and keep running costs down. However, in order for green mortgages to really gain traction, an increasing number of lenders must get involved to create genuine competition.

Thankfully, we are seeing a raft of activity across the BTL and residential markets. In Q1, Paragon launched four green further advance products to support landlords in improving the energy performance of their properties. Foundation Home Loans also introduced a ‘Green Reward’ remortgage for landlords to reward those who have paid out to make improvements.

THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY IN CUSTOMER ACQUISITION

I love a bit of tech. Especially in the form of new platforms and different ways to engage with people. I’m not exactly prolific across all social media platforms but I do appreciate their appeal. LinkedIn is probably the medium I have tended to use the most in recent years, although I am becoming more and more invested in what remains a relatively new concept – Clubhouse.

THE BTL SECTOR LEADS THE WAY OUT OF LOCKDOWN

I think it’s safe to say that we are all ready for lockdown restrictions to ease but only if done in a way which doesn’t hinder our freedom in the future. This is the balancing act which the government has faced over the past 12 months and I certainly don’t envy the continued challenges facing the decision makers.

Every business and individual has been forced to make some tricky decisions over this period and landlords are no different. Landlords have been impacted in many different ways and it speaks volumes of the BTL market, lenders and the advice process to see that so many have continued to remain active during this period, although there inevitably remains some degree of caution. According to the National Landlord Index by Accommodation.co.uk, over half (59.8%) of landlords are waiting for lockdown measures to ease before investing in properties.

THE INFLUENCE OF COVID-19 ON THE BUY TO LET MARKET

We all know that Covid-19 has changed business dynamics across a multitude of sectors and the mortgage market is certainly no different. With this in mind, it was interesting to see research from Quotezone – which covered a sample of landlord insurance quotes from 2019 to 2020 – highlight that redundancies and furlough may have created an emerging trend of small and first-time landlords.

Although the majority of the 19,000 landlords sampled reported owning their property for in excess of five years, a more recent spike emerged with properties owned for ‘less than one year’ seeing a 22% year-on-year rise during the pandemic. The data also showed that the average age of a landlord in the UK is 51. It added that, with only 52% of landlords using cash to purchase during 2020 – the lowest figure on record – buy-to-let is an increasingly viable option for many UK buyers.

THE APPEAL OF THE UK HOLIDAY LET

I know how difficult it is to plan ahead at the moment and how the booking of any holiday may still seem a little presumptuous. However, after seeing a couple of back-to-back days of sunshine I’m sure I’ve joined the vast numbers of people across the UK in thinking – if only.

With the vaccine programme speeding ahead, there is growing optimism that some kind of travel will be permitted sooner rather than later. The popularity of breaks within the UK is set to continue with staycations – or simply holidays as I like to call them – likely to remain high on the agenda of many people, if and when they are allowed.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDED FOR TENANTS AND LANDLORDS

The UK Government has recently announced that the ban on evictions in England is to be extended until the end of March. This means that eviction notices – which could have started again on 22 February – cannot be served for another six weeks. The eviction ban had already been extended from 11 January when it was originally due to expire.

The only tenants that will be allowed to be evicted using bailiffs before 31 March will be those that cause the greatest strain on landlords or residents and neighbours. Exemptions include cases of illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour and arrears of six months’ rent or more.

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