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.”