Fresh research shows almost half of landlords are considering divesting their portfolios and leaving the PRS due to an increase in regulation and rules.
A survey of 1,000 landlords commissioned by Aldermore Bank revealed that 48% are now considering fleeing the market, and that would dramatically reduce the supply of much needed privately rented homes.
Recent tax hikes, including stamp duty changes on buy-to-let and the loss of tax-free allowances, are driving away landlords and crippling the sector, with 59% of landlords surveyed saying that is much harder being a landlord now than five years ago.
The impact of regulation is clear, with two thirds - 68% - of respondents feeling that recent changes have been too broad and need to focus more on clamping down on rogue landlords.
Regulatory tax changes, along with high maintenance costs have all been identified as the main barrier posing a threat to their buy-to-let investments.
Despite the pressures landlords are currently feeling, the research revealed that just over half - 52% - would still recommend becoming a landlord as an investment opportunity, but 49% of landlords have decided against expanding their portfolio because of the increase of stamp duty.
The impact of divesting would be wide-ranging; with 53% of landlords believing that private landlords exiting the market would hurt the quality of properties available to tenants.
Damian Thompson, group managing director, retail finance at Aldermore, commented: “Private landlords exiting the UK market would mean less choice and likely impact negatively the quality of rental properties for tenants.
“The number of people renting in the UK has been rapidly growing, up 1.7 million in ten years2, so it is vital there is enough rental supply to meet this demand.
“Landlords may have been impacted by increased costs and more complex processes in the past 5 years but the rental market continues to be a strong long-term investment.
“Landlords will need support and advice on how to manage their portfolios going forward from lenders and the wider industry so they can continue to support the Private Rented Sector the way it needs to be.”