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Half of buy to let investors considering selling – even before virus

A survey of the buy to let market conducted by a bank before the latest acceleration in the Coronavirus outbreak suggests almost half of investors are considering selling part of their portfolios.

Aldermore Bank, in a survey of 1,000 landlords, says 48 per cent are considering divesting their portfolios and leaving the rental sector completely because of an increase in regulation and rules.

Some 68 per cent of respondents feel that regulatory changes have been too broad and need to focus more on punishing genuinely ‘rogue’ landlords.

Fifty three per cent believe private landlords exiting the market would hurt the quality of properties available to tenants and – completely unsurprisingly – 59 per cent believe being a landlord is now more difficult than it was five years ago.

Just over a quarter of respondents said that regulatory change was the biggest threat to their investment, while a third cited tax changes and high maintenance costs as barriers.

It has also led to increased admin with two in five saying increased rules meant their most recent mortgage application was more difficult than previous.

“Private landlords exiting the UK market would mean less choice and likely impact negatively the quality of rental properties for tenants. The number of people renting in the UK has been rapidly growing, up 1.7m in 10 years, so it is vital there is enough rental supply to meet this demand” explains Damian Thompson, group managing director of retail finance at Aldermore.

“Landlords may have been impacted by increased costs and more complex processes in the past five years but the rental market continues to be a strong long-term investment. Landlords will need support and advice on how to manage their portfolios going forward from lenders and the wider industry so they can continue to support the private rented sector the way it needs to be.”

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