UK landlords should brace themselves for an expected slowdown in the rental market next year, an expert has claimed.

Luke Bennett, founder and managing director of London real estate agent SW19, warned that some landlords could face "serious problems"in 2009 as the property market begins to alter.

The recent uncertainty has seen many people who were "uncomfortable"about buying this year decide to rent instead.

However, Mr Bennett predicted that more mortgages will become available "in the beginning to middle of next year", as banks are forced to pass on the recent interest rate cuts to consumers.

"What's going to happen is that it will be cheaper to buy than it will be to rent,"he said.

This will lead many tenants to think that they are better off purchasing property rather than renting, Mr Bennett added, which could spell trouble for some landlords.

"The rental market will take a slowdown after the first-quarter,"he confirmed.

According to Rentright's Residential Rental Price Index, the average monthly rent in the UK stood at £613 in November, down from £836 in the same month last year.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18926908-ADNFCR

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