A survey of the nation’s letting agents has revealed that two thirds of them have seen a significant increase in the number of landlords either exiting the private rented sector (PRS) or reducing the size of their portfolio.
The shocking figures come from trade association Propertymark’s report on industry attitudes to the looming Renters (Reform) Bill, which is currently making its way through parliament.
When asked what type of landlords were exiting the market, agents reported that landlords with large portfolios were less likely to leave (20% had seen this) than those with small portfolios (51% had seen this).
Consequently, and unsurprisingly, the same report reveals that 95% letting agents reported a shortage in properties available to rent within the PRS.
The largest stock shortages are reported in the ‘family homes’ market (87% of agents reported a shortage here) followed by the ‘homes for single renters or couples’.
The effect on ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)’ and ‘student rents’ appears muted by comparison, Propertymark says,
When asked about the Bill, agents reported significant hostility to its measures, which will see agents and landlords required to face a significant increase in red tape.
This includes registering properties and their landlords and agents on a national portal, compulsory redress scheme membership for landlords and a new housing ombudsman for the PRS and tougher fines for those who fail to comply with the new regulations.
Among the agents polled, 40% strongly disagreed with the Bill’s measures, while 33% slightly disagreed.
More worryingly for Ministers, Property reports that the vast majority of agents (94%) believed that more landlords would leave the sector as a likely consequence of the Bill, something the Bank of England warned of too last year.
Furthermore, 83% of agents were concerned that the Bill would also result in fewer new entrants, the life blood of the PRS.