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Bank of England to unleash fresh buy-to-let crackdown

The Bank of England could be handed new powers to restrict buy-to-let lending and curb the property boom.

Chancellor George Osborne is said to be considering whether to hand the Bank wide-ranging powers to limit lending to amateur landlords.

He recently cracked down on buy-to-let tax relief for high-rate taxpayers in his emergency Budget.

His increasingly aggressive approach to the sector followed a recent report by the Bank of England suggesting that buy-to-let poses a threat to the UK economy.

Its Financial Stability Report warned that borrowers may be putting themselves and the economy at risk by investing too much money in buy-to-let properties.

The Chancellor the Treasury select committee that he had already written to governor Mark Carney about an “imminent” consultation on restraining the market.

Options may include extending tough residential lending criteria into the rental market, making it harder for investors to access interest-only mortgages.

The Bank could be even be given new powers to restrict the proportion of buy-to-let mortgages that borrowers and lenders can offer, or set limits on loan size in relation to the investor's income and deposit.

This would mark a radical tightening of the buy-to-let market, which has been subject to relatively loose regulation.

There are now an estimated two million landlords, up from 1.5 million just six years ago.

The Bank has already been granted new powers over the housing market for residential mortgages, allowing it to set limits on debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratios.


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