Private rented sector (PRS) tenants as facing a shortage of suitable rental property, just at a time when demand for renting is increasing.
According to a recent survey of almost 3,000 landlords carried out by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA), 22 per cent of landlords are planning to sell at least one of their properties over the next year. It is thought that this follows from the introduction of new tax rules for buy-to-let landlords, which started to kick-in from April this year.
Data published by the RLA from their latest quarterly research report shows that 33 per cent of landlords have seen an increase in demand for homes to rent over the past three years. It also shows that around 18 per cent of those surveyed are still planning to buy additional properties to let.
But this is where the tax measures are filtering through to tenants: faced by an imbalance in the supply and demand for rental properties, 47 per cent of landlords indicated that they expected to increase rents over the next year.
35 per cent indicated that the changes to mortgage interest relief, which will see landlords taxed on their turnover rather than their profit, unlike all other UK businesses, was the main reason why rents might increase.
Commenting on the findings, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, said:
“As demand continues to increase for homes to rent, punitive tax changes are discouraging investment by the majority of good landlords who want to provide accommodation.
“Whilst efforts by the Government to support institutional investment in the sector are welcome, this will remain a drop in the ocean.
“To meet demand, we need pro-growth taxation that actively supports and encourages the majority of landlords who are individuals providing good housing, to invest in the new homes to rent we so desperately need.”
Teso-isation of Renting?
The government’s apparent drive to address the imbalance in housing supply and demand with more institutional investment, at the expense of the individual or small-scale landlord, would seem to go against the current trend: pushing back against big corporates, while backing small-scale, local independent businesses.
But, when it comes to private renting, everybody seems to want to kick the landlord, the small, independent providers. Have the rogue landlords and the bragging so-called multi-millionaire buy-to-let portfolio landlords, got the profession into such a bind that all landlords are now paying the price for this?
It would certainly seem that the rogues in the industry, constantly focussed on by the media, even though they represent a small fraction of the industry, has done the industry as a whole no good whatsoever. Couple this with the public’s view that buy-to-let landlording is the path to easy riches, and you have a perfect storm brewing against responsible small business landlords.
The government, councils and social housing providers are all getting in on the act of backing big developers and institutional investment, encouraging them into the rental housing market. Increasingly, there are moves to provide new-build housing at market rents, either directly, or through companies, or in partnership with banks and pension funds, egged on by government incentives.
This would seem like a neat solution for government: drive out the troublesome small guys by flooding the market with multi-occupied blocks of rental housing, and as long as the media focus remains on the rogues in the industry, there will be little public sympathy.
All this, including the myth that renting out property is a way to easy riches, ignores the fact that small-scale landlording is hard work.
“The independent private landlord will continue to be crucial to meeting housing need, particularly for those shut out of owner occupation and high-end rentals.
“So, it’s time to re-evaluate the private rental market, to bring the same caution to big development as we do with retail, and celebrate the small independents who can be the heroes of the housing crisis,” says the RLA.