Why we signed up to the CML statement of practice
Published: 7 May 2015 | Author: Bernard Clarke
In this article, Paul Wootton, managing director of The Mortgage Works, outlines why his firm was one of the first to support the CML’s statement of practice on buy-to-let lending.
With buy-to-let loans accounting for 15.1% of mortgage advances in the fourth quarter of last year – and the figure continuing to grow – these mortgages are now an important component of the UK’s housing market.
Although buy-to-let lending remains unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, most lenders participate in both the residential and buy-to-let markets and so usually aim to adopt the same high standards across both sectors. Nevertheless, in the face of changing political and regulatory agendas, it is important that the industry continues to evaluate itself to ensure a sustained positive contribution.
This is a period of significant regulatory change for the industry, with the implementation of the EU mortgage credit directive in March 2016 formally introducing regulation to around 10% of new lending, focused on inexperienced landlords. For the remainder, the industry is keen to show that, although not regulated, it adopts a professional and responsible approach – particularly in light of the impending HM Treasury review of the market, which may see macro-prudential controls approved for the first time.
To that end, The Mortgage Works has made a significant contribution to developing the CML’s statement of practice on buy-to-let lending. This builds on the lending principles already evident in the market. By outlining a set of key values focused on quality and prudence, the statement gives the opportunity to bolster confidence in the market for government, regulators, borrowers and tenants.
We are pleased that the initial reception to the statement has been almost universally positive, with signatories representing in excess of 90% of the market. We were proud to be among the first to sign up. It is particularly important that, in view of the changing landscape ahead, industrywide acceptance of these principles is achieved in order to ensure consistent standards across the market.
It is key that, as we move forward, the focus on continued improvement in standards is not lost. At The Mortgage Works, we have been at the forefront of this drive and have led the market in a number of areas:
- We have supported the growing demand for longer term tenancies by enabling landlords to offer three-year agreements.
- We have produced market-leading guides for landlords and tenants alike.
- We have implemented a prudent and innovative approach to affordability to help ensure landlord and sector stability.
- We have also streamlined our fees and charges, and are working with the CML to improve transparency across the industry.
As the market continues to evolve, policy and process must continue to develop alongside it. The CML’s statement of practice on buy-to-let gives the industry the platform to ensure consistency and improvement in these areas.