Uncertainty prompts landlords sell properties, increase rents


Increasing numbers of landlords are selling off some of their properties and increasing rents in response to recent tax and regulatory changes and political uncertainty.

According to a new survey of buy to let landlords conducted by BDRC Continental for Foundation Home Loans, almost a fifth, 19%, of those with 20 or more rental properties have reduced the size of their portfolio.

More than a third of those surveyed, 38%, said they were reviewing the size of their portfolio to ensure they could cope with mounting costs following the introduction of Section 24 cuts to mortgage interest tax relief, the hike in Stamp Duty and the cap on tenants’ deposits.

The new research also revealed that 30% of landlords across the UK have put rents up in order to compensate for these mounting expenses, with the greatest proportion, 14%, doing so in the East Midlands.

Almost three quarter of landlords who took part in the survey said their confidence in the sector was lower than before the changes to buy to let taxation.

Jeff Knight, marketing director of Foundation Home Loans, who commissioned the research, said; “Landlords have been met with a raft of changes, from Stamp Duty charges to shifts in tax policy, and the lack of certainty on the political front has clouded the picture somewhat.

“The response has been to ‘batten down the hatches’, streamlining larger portfolios and protecting income by increasing rents, decisions that can be reviewed once the buy to let market is more accommodating.

“The fact remains that, whether it’s as a stepping stone to home ownership or a longer term lifestyle decision for tenants, the rental sector is an increasingly important part of the housing mix. This will ultimately be best served by a wide choice of property and good landlords who can have confidence in decent returns.”

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