06 Jun 2022

The clearest indication of the rate at which the private rented market is shrinking is revealed in new research by Propertymark.

It shows the number of properties available to rent through letting agents in the month of March halved between 2019 and 2022.

During the same four-year period, 94 per cent of landlords who removed their property from the rental market did so to sell it.

Over half of rental properties sold in March this year alone did not return to the private rented market.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark’s chief executive, says: “Our research presents a worrying picture for private renters.

“The number of properties available to rent has been diminishing with a large portion of landlords choosing to sell their properties. A lack of property is the root cause for rent increases and rising figures on social housing lists.

“We know from our qualitative research that the most common reasons for landlords to choose to sell their properties and no longer provide homes are around risk, finances and viability.”

He continues: “Landlords and letting agents have been the subject of extreme legislation changes as the UK Government tries to improve the sector. However, without a middle ground, these changes are actually proving detrimental to those they are supposed to protect.

“Sadly we do not see this improving as the sector braces itself for more changes within the anticipated Renters’ Reform Bill and upcoming energy efficiency targets.”

Added Phil Turtle, compliance director with Landlord Licensing & Defence “This is, as we have said on many occasions, the inevitable result of the onslaught against probate landlords orchestrated by Shelter the homeless charity that doesn’t home the homeless but instead exists to denigrate landlords and pay themselves fat salaries: councils who are orchestrating a land-grab by taking massive sums off landlords or ineffective licensing schemes and making a revenue-stream out of civil penalty fines against decent landlords rather than the rogue landlords the legislation was intended to apply to, and Government with s42 income tax making owning rental properties somewhere between unprofitable and loss-making for a significant majority of existing landlords and of course the threat of the withdrawal of s21 possession with no confidence that any form or replacement will be provided. No wonder that landlords are getting out while they can.

“One of our favourite  saying is ‘be careful what you wish for’. Well, Shelter, Councils and Government, you are now reaping the results of your policies. Maybe we will finally see Shelter and Councils building housing to replace the private landlord properties they have force out of the market? Probably not. But we are fascinated to see where they all intend to put the thousands of tenants who will be unable to find  a home to rent.”

For the research, Propertymark surveyed 443 agents working for businesses with a combined total of over 4,000 branches across all four UK nations.

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