By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Is a mass landlord exodus upon us?

Is the UK on the brink of a mass landlord exodus? It may seem like an ominous question, but ask people who own a portfolio of buy-to-let (BTL) properties and you’ll soon find out that being a landlord is not what it once was.

There is a simple reason for this: landlords have been hit with a steady barrage of regulatory reforms over recent years, which has made the process of managing a BTL portfolio more complex, time-consuming and expensive.

In 2019 alone, the government introduced changes to buy-to-let mortgage tax relief and further stamp duty reform, not to mention amends to Section 21 regarding unfair evictions and the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act.


While regulations play a vital role in ensuring the interests of tenants and landlords are not exploited or taken advantage of, the volume and extent of recent reforms suggest the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is unfairly weighted against landlords.

In one respect, I do understand the Government’s position. The imbalance between housing supply and demand has resulted in rising property prices and affordability issues for first-time buyers and those looking to move to a bigger property. Targeted regulation of the PRS is aimed at curtailing BTL investors from purchasing excessive amounts of residential property.

However, this begs an interesting question…

How much regulation is too much regulation?

To find out, Accumulate Capital, recently surveyed over 750 landlords, all of whom own three or more residential properties in the UK. We asked them just what they thought about the PRS and whether changes in this space would alter the way they are managing their property portfolios. 

Alarmingly, the results found that over half - 53% - of landlords would not have purchased their properties in the first place had they known just how regulated the PRS would become.

What’s more, 37% plan to sell at least one of their properties this year; of those, 61% say they are doing so as a result of increasing regulations and taxes. Suddenly, the prospect of a landlord exodus doesn’t seem all that outlandish.

That’s not to say landlords will be retreating from property investment altogether. Real estate remains an attractive asset, which is why alternative property investment opportunities like debt investment and development finance are rising in popularity. The aforementioned Accumulate Capital research revealed that over a fifth of landlords (21%) are considering these new investment avenues in 2020.

Targeting landlords is not the solution

If the government wants to rebalance supply and demand in the property market – which they need to do in order to improve housing affordability and availability – its top priority should be ensuring more residential developments are being built across the UK. That’s why I am keen to see new measures being introduced to make sure the UK’s property developers are provided the support they need to fund and construct more new-build homes.

The upcoming Budget on 11 March will reveal if the new government is going to change its approach. At the very least, I encourage them to take a step back and examine how current regulatory reforms are affecting landlords and the BTL market more broadly. Hopefully they will see that targeting landlords will not resolve some of the pressing challenges currently facing the real estate market.

Paul Howells is CEO of Accumulate Capital

Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

Poll: Do you think a mass landlord exodus is upon us?


  • icon

    Well those of us that are left, and with low or zero borrowings will be in a strong position as rents go through the roof.

  • icon
    • 03 February 2020 20:50 PM

    Forcing LL out of business will NOT rebalance the property market as LL do not prevent anyone from buying.
    There are plenty of properties to buy and few of those being forced sold by LL will be purchased by FTB or former or existing tenants.
    Simply put aspirant homebuyers do not have the resources to buy for a wide variety of reasons
    Mostly caused by fecklessness and spendthrift habits and refusing to consider buying in affordable areas.
    It is upsizers and downsizers who are buying the properties LL are being forced to sell due to the recent bonkers legislation.

    Govt actions is gradually getting rid of leveraged sole trader LL which comprise about 25% of the PRS.
    Such LL are selling up or converting away from AST lettings so still a total loss as far as AST rental stock is concerned.
    With abolishment of the AST and S21 more LL of all types will move away from AST lettings.
    However it is achieved many more LL will stop letting on a normal letting contract.
    This can only lead to ever increasing rents for those LL prepared to engage in long term lettings.
    Govt for some very strange reasons is trying to eradicate long term lettings.
    It is achieving this by all these bonkers new regulations.
    Any leveraged LL will be taking a massive risk letting to long term tenants especially if RGI on the tenant isn't possible.
    It is no surprise that LL are exiting long term lettings.
    The exodus from such lettings will continue.
    It won't happen instantly but every tax year LL will get rid of one property if choosing to sell up.
    It is wise to dispose of investment property one per tax year which is why it won't be particularly noticed that rental properties are being sold until about 5 years from now when suddenly it will be noted that for some reason there DOESN'T seem to be as many rental properties around................................funny that!

    This Govt is simply idiotic and hasn't a clue what it is doing with the housing market.
    It will need to reach the same situation as occurred in Ireland before the Govt recognises they have royally f####d up!
    Then severe back-pedalling will be required.
    But that won't work as few LL will be enticed back.
    The damage to the PRS will be long-term which is very bad news for tenants who only have fewer rental properties and increased rents to look forward to.
    The really bizarre thing is that all these attacks on the PRS will not garner any more votes for the Tories.
    Which is really the reason for all the Govt attacks on the PRS.
    The political naivety of the Govt is staggering.
    Tenants under 30 will not vote Tory so why bother chasing the tenant vote when it is pointless doing so?


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up