There is a misconception among some people that all buy-to-let landlords are wealthy, but the reality is that most operate as individuals earning a modest income from buy-to-let property that is likely to supplement other earnings, the latest figures show.
The findings from the latest Private Landlords Survey, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), show that 94% of landlords in England operate as private individuals rather than as part of a company and on average earn £15,000 a year before tax and other deductions.
The research, the first of its kind since 2010, also reveals that for most landlords income from rent makes up 42% of their total gross income, with just 4% relying on buy-to-let as their main business.
Some 45% of landlords own just a single property, 38% own between two and four properties, representing 31% of the sector, while around half of private rented sector tenancies are let by 17% of landlords with five or more properties.
Interestingly, the proportion of landlords with just one property has dropped from 78% in 2010 to 45% or from 40% to 21% of the sector.
Meanwhile, the proportion of landlords with five or more properties increased from 5% to 17% or from 39% to 48% of the sector.
The study also found that more than half - 59% - of landlords are aged 55 years or older and 33% are retired.
Some 70% of landlords have let property for six years or more and the average length of time that landlords had let property was 11.5 years.
According to the survey, 53% of landlords plan to keep the number of rental properties the same over the next two years, with 11% planning to increase the number of properties they own, while 10% of landlords plan to reduce the number of properties in their portfolio.