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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlords ‘batten down the hatches’ and increase rents

A growing number of landlords are selling off properties and increasing rents in response to regulatory changes and political uncertainty after the general election and Brexit vote.

Almost one in five landlords - 19% - with 20 or more rental properties surveyed by BDRC Continental, on behalf of Foundation Home Loans, has reduced the size of their property portfolio by selling off property.

More than a third - 38% - of landlords said they had reviewed the size of their portfolios to ensure they could withstand any creeping costs, while 7% have sold off properties to either reduce portfolio sizes or diversify.

Aside from political uncertainty, many landlords have been deterred by recent tax changes, including the phasing out of tax relief for higher-rate taxpayers and the introduction of a 3% stamp duty surcharge.

The research found that 30% of landlords have hiked rental prices, with the greatest proportion doing so in the East Midlands (41%).

Almost three quarters - 71% - of landlords said they had experienced a drop in confidence.

Jeff Knight, marketing director, Foundation Home Loans, said: “Landlords have been met with a raft of changes, from stamp duty charges to shifts in tax policy, and the lack of certainty on the political front has clouded the picture somewhat. The response has been to ‘batten down the hatches’, streamlining larger portfolios and protecting income by increasing rents - decisions that can be reviewed once the buy to let market is more accommodating.

“The fact remains that, whether it’s as a stepping stone to home ownership or a longer term lifestyle decision for tenants, the rental sector is an increasingly important part of the housing mix. This will ultimately be best served by a wide choice of property, and good landlords who can have confidence in decent returns.”

Percentage of UK landlords who raised rents, by region

UK

30%

East of England

33%

East Midlands

41%

London (Central)

24%

London (Outer)

24%

North East

23%

North West

35%

Scotland

15%

South East

33%

South West

31%

Wales

23%

West Midlands

31%

Yorkshire

31%

Percentage of UK landlords who reviewed portfolio size, by region

UK

38%

East of England

40%

East Midlands

50%

London (Central)

45%

London (Outer)

40%

North East

43%

North West

34%

Scotland

35%

South East

40%

South West

38%

Wales

32%

West Midlands

35%

Yorkshire

28%

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