Private landlords have been warned that they must "remain vigilant"ahead of a potentially difficult year in the buy-to-let market.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Melanie Bien of Savills Private Finance said that a number of landlords could run into trouble this year due to an inability to meet their mortgage payments.

With the market flooded by available houses for rent due to the influx of accidental landlords, an inability to rent out their properties could lead to financial disaster for some landlords.

But the mortgage expert suggested that buy-to-let investors can help manage the risk over the next 12 months by looking to hang on to their current lodgers.

"[Landlords] should look after existing tenants as it could be harder to find new ones, and respond to requests quickly and efficiently,"Ms Bien suggested.

However, 2009 could also bring with it a wealth of opportunities for those landlords who are secure and confident in their finances.

Ms Bien claimed that the number of bargain properties available for buy-to-let investors will increase as the year goes on, spelling good news for those looking to add to their portfolio.

This outlook comes after the National Landlord Association revealed that 71 per cent of landlords are expecting to face increased rental arrears over the next 12 months.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18976722-ADNFCR

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