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There is a misconception that most BTL landlords are wealthy

There are around 2.4 million landlords in the UK, but what are the characteristics of the average buy-to-let investor?

Two thirds of landlords have what many would class as ‘normal’ jobs, and rent out property to supplement their main income, according to new research.

In fact, just 5% of landlords are professionals and own five properties or more, suggesting that very few landlords rake in profits from owning huge property portfolios.


The study by online letting agent MakeUrMove revealed that office admin roles, alongside jobs in IT, teaching and accountancy are the four most common occupations for landlords.

While many landlords are in the business by choice, the number of accidental landlords has increased in recent years.

The research found that just 18% of landlords became landlords because they wanted to create a property business.

Some 16% of landlords let a property they inherited, and 22% became landlords through various other accidental and unplanned circumstances, such as splitting with a partner or being unable to sell a house.

More than half of landlords own just a single property, suggesting that it is a misconception that most landlords are wealthy.

A majority of landlords questioned in the study by MakeUrMove let property as a subsidiary income to their main occupations, which varied from builders to nurses, to retail managers and postal workers.

Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove, said: “These figures shed some light on what British landlords really look like. The reality is that wealthy, multi-property owning landlords are quite rare.

“Most landlords are ordinary people working in regular jobs who are renting out a property to try and save for their retirement or to supplement their main income.

“With 53% of landlords owning one single property, it’s clear that most landlords are not living off a portfolio of properties.

“They work as electricians, taxi drivers, hairdressers or social workers - they are just regular people who want to maintain healthy, stress-free relationships with their tenants.

“We’ve found that a good number of landlords fell into renting their property through unforeseen circumstances such as inheriting a property or struggling to sell their own house.

“Many of these landlords start on a consent to let mortgages and later become buy-to-let mortgage holders, having a mortgage on the property means they are forced to pass on the costs to their tenants.”

The research also found that 40% of landlords have only been a landlord for three years or less, with many admitting they are new to the market and lack understanding of laws and regulations.

The new landlords are a symptom of the churn in the sector with many accidental landlords exiting the market after only a small number of tenancies.

Alexandra added: “The private rental sector is undergoing significant changes at the moment, with the government bringing in a tenant fees ban, considering ending no fault evictions and introducing new regulations relating to houses of multiple occupancy, all designed to improve the lives of tenants.

“With so many landlords having come into the role by ‘accident’ and owning only a small number of properties it’s vital that the important work of protecting tenants is balanced with the need to support small landlords who make up the backbone of the PRS.”

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Poll: Does renting out property provide you with your main source of income?


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    probably a good idea to keep the day job to start with, i started in my early 30s when i bought my business premises from my landlord, another property came with it. it worked well, i didn't like the idea of private pensions, really did not trust them, so bought up run down properties in the 90s renovated them and rented them, 11 yrs ago sold my business and became a full time landlord, no regrets i love it and earn a good income from it.

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    What!! You mean all landlords are sitting in the mansions with Bentleys and Rolls Royces outside quaffing champagne and cavier!!

    I just don't believe that!!

    Shelter, Generation Rent et al cant possibly be wrong can they!!

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    All the sacrifices that you made to buy property. All the hard work & risk that went into doing it up so that tenants would be comfortable. All the stress when tenants decided not to pay yet still sit in your property finding problems to complain about. All this government & agencies like Shelter interfering with our businesses. Isnt it ironic the politics of envy being handed to us by a Tory government because we obviously don't deserve to have any perks out of this business .

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    This is my prediction because of left wing politics being pushed by Shelter Generation Rent etc to the government who have made the biggest mistake with the recent tax changes you will see

    1) Poor quality properties
    2) Higher rents
    3) Increased anti social activity
    4) More people actually homeless
    5) Illegal evictions to increase
    6) Housing provided & operated by criminal gangs using intimidation & threat against tenants complaining.
    7) Exorbitant late rent charges

    So Shelter etc careful what you have wished for but then again I'm not sure you really care about homelessness as it will keep you all in jobs for years to come


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