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Sale and rent back schemes to be probed

Sale and rent back schemes could be subjected to greater regulation following a probe from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT has announced it will investigate the sector to examine whether the legislative framework provides sufficient protection for participants. Sale and rent back schemes operate by offering stricken homeowners a quick sale at a reduced price from a buy to let investor. The new owner then becomes a landlord for the former owner, who is allowed to remain in the home and pay rent. However, concerns over the schemes have been raised by consumer groups, which have alleged that landlords are entitled to annul the letting contract and effectively acquire the property cheaply. John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, said: "Sale and rent back schemes might be helpful for some consumers but there are a number of potential concerns including whether consumers in difficult circumstances are making well informed choices." Under existing laws, there is no requirement for scheme operators to register at Companies House and no regulation of their practices.

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