One in five landlords looking to reduce portfolio size

Landlords remain split over the Government’s latest plans to improve the rental sector, with almost one in five planning to reduce the size of their buy-to-let portfolio as a result, research from Total Landlord Insurance has revealed.

The White Paper – A Fairer Private Rented Sector, was released on 16th June, with the primary initiatives including the abolition of Section 21 evictions, as well as the removal of the blanket bans on renting with pets and to those with children or on benefits, and doubling notice periods for rent increases.

While the announcement was broadly in line with expectations, it was met with some scepticism from the industry due to its primary focus on shifting the power balance in favour of tenants, with the nation’s landlords split on their support for these changes.

In fact, the latest survey of landlord sentiment by Total Landlord Insurance found that 60% of UK landlords don’t support the abolition of Section 21 evictions.

57% also stated they were against the right to allow tenants to rent with a pet unless they can reasonably refuse.

While 59% were also against plans to make a blanket ban on tenants renting with children or with the support of benefits illegal.

However, the majority of landlords (60%) are in favour of giving tenants stronger powers to cease arbitrary rent review clauses such as unjustified rent increases. 58% also support plans to double notice periods when rent increases are justifiably implemented.

Most notably, 89% were behind the creation of a new ombudsman to deal with rental market disputes.

Despite this mixed response, 79% of landlords have no plans to either increase or decrease their buy-to-let portfolio in the near future. While just 4% plan to increase it, 17% did state these latest changes would spur them to reduce the size of their investment portfolio.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of the Hamilton Fraser Group, who operate industry schemes such as mydeposits, the Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protect, as well as Total Landlord Insurance, said:

“We’ve waited with baited breath for three years to hear the detail of the Government’s proposed rental market reforms and while it’s fair to say that their latest plans are rather tenant focussed, any attempts to improve the sector are extremely welcome and should improve standards for all stakeholders regardless of what side of the tenancy agreement they stand on.

“Despite this, our latest gauge on landlord sentiment shows that the vast majority are in favour of greater tenant protection and a fairer, more level playing field across the rental sector.

“This has always been the case and while there are bad apples in every batch, the view that all landlords are money hungry tyrants who forsake tenant welfare to increase their rental yield simply isn’t the case.

“However, while they are happy to see tenant welfare increase, they are also understandably protective of their investment portfolio and don’t want to be powerless when it comes to removing rogue tenants, or preventing potential damages to their properties.”

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