Jump in landlords leaving the private rental market

Despite a continuing growth in demand for rental properties, the private rented sector is seeing growing numbers of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties.

Recent figures from ARLA Propertymark reveal rises in the number of landlords selling properties to their highest level since 2015 with the highest numbers of landlords leaving the sector in London and Wales. The number of rental properties managed by letting agents was 179 per branch on average, down from 183 in March last year and a figure of 193 in 2015.

This is happening despite increases in levels of demand for rental properties with a nine per cent rise in the number of prospective tenants registering with letting agents and member branches. Demand was the highest in Wales, followed by the East Midlands.

A quarter of branches also saw rents rise. Some 56 per cent of tenants in the East Midlands saw their rents rise while it was just 11 per cent in London and the North East. The average length of tenancy for properties let and managed by ARLA branches was 18 months.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, said the “barrage” of legislative changes that landlords have faced over the past few years, combined with political uncertainty has meant the BTL market is becoming increasingly unattractive to investors.

Cox said the statistics showed landlords were either hiking rents for tenants or choosing to exit the market altogether to avoid facing the increased costs incurred.

“This in turn is hitting renters most, at a time when a huge number of people rely on the rented sector. As demand for private rented homes massively continues to outstrip supply, the Government can no longer divert its attention from the broken housing market. The recent news that the Government is regulating the industry is a step in the right direction, but ultimately we just need more homes,” he said.