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Buy-to-let sector at risk from interest rate rise

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Mortgage lenders need to be aware of the knock-on effects of struggling buy-to-let borrowers, a consumer advice boss has warned.

During a debate at the British Bankers’ Association conference, Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy warned a future rise in interest rates could have an impact on landlords as well as owner-occupiers.

She told Your Money sister publication, Mortgage Solutions: “Some landlords will have the finances to cushion any interest rate increases, others may not.

“The knock-on effect of landlords not meeting their mortgage payments is that tenants could face losing their home. For some it could mean uprooting their family and moving children from their schools.

“Lenders need to be aware of the chain of events that could follow if landlords struggle to cope with rate rises.”

In August, the Bank of England issued forward guidance. This suggested the Bank base rate was unlikely to rise from 0.5% before the unemployment rate fell to 7%.

While the central bank’s governor Mark Carney has hinted this could mean no rise until 2016, market commentators have predicted it could come earlier.

Questioned separately on the subject, RBS interim chief executive Les Matheson told the conference audience the bank’s customers were well placed to deal with an interest rate rise because the question was included in the affordability test.

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