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Landlords demand relief on buy-to-let mortgages

Struggling tenants could be turfed out if scheme is not extended

The Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme should be extended to cover those who are behind on buy-to-let repayments, say groups representing landlords.

The government scheme, announced last week, is designed to underwrite, for up to two years, the mortgage payments of homeowners who have lost their jobs or suffered a sudden drop in income. The scheme was initially welcomed by commentators but is short on detail and reports have surfaced that only a fraction of the estimated 75,000 people who will face repossession next year will be helped.

Simon Gordon, head of communications at the National Landlords Association, says those who are in arrears with their buy-to-let mortgages should be covered by the scheme. "Seventy-one per cent of landlords expect rental arrears to be a major issue during 2009," he said.

Mr Gordon justified the extension of the scheme on the grounds that it would prevent hard-pressed tenants being turfed out on to the street.

"If the endgame is to prevent people losing their homes, then it makes no sense for buy-to-let mortgages to be exempt from these new measures. By giving landlords breathing space, they would have a chance to offer any struggling tenants a similar period to get their finances in order and prevent the homes being repossessed," he said.