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Government red tape still an obstacle to buy to let investors

Landlords are hesitant about buying more property according to a new study by Simply Business.

The study of 560 landlords from across the UK reveals that government regulation remains a disincentive with 35 per cent citing this as a reason for their decision not to buy more property. 

There is also uncertainty around the viability of the sector in general, with 23 per cent of landlords saying they are worried about the future of the rental market.


Two fifths of landlords say better Covid-related compensation should have been offered to those who lost rental income, while more than one in three believe that government should have provided financial support for tenants who were unable to pay their rent - the poll was taken before the announcement last weekend of a £65 debt fund for English tenants with Covid-related arrears.

Simply Business chief executive Alan Thomas comments: “The impact of the pandemic has been felt across all corners of the country – and that’s no different for the 2.6m landlords who let out residential properties in the UK. The extent of the pandemic’s impact is made clear in our latest research, with many landlords still hesitant about investing in new property.



“Contributing over £16 billion annually in pre-tax spending, an exodus of smaller landlords from the buy-to-let market could have a devastating impact on the UK economy. But more than this, landlords are crucial to our communities, offering much-needed accommodation to over 4.4m households.

“Thankfully, for the most part landlords remain resilient – 59 per cent of landlords still think property is a worthwhile investment, while almost a third are optimistic about their future letting property.”

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    4.4 million households. Hopefully someone can tell me what is a household ?, is it a small Studio, a Flat, a Terraced, a Detached house or neither. Would it instead be one person, two persons sharing or a family.

    Matthew Payne

    I'm not sure whether they are using it in the right context here, but a household for lettings purposes is a unit of people that are socially and financially connected and dependant on each other. So a family is one household, a couple could be one, 3 sharers might be 3 households living in one property though, hence HMO definitions.

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    Increasing regulation is just progress in a modern housing market. Tenants have a right to know that their landlord is fit and proper and that their property meets certain standards. It’s just something we have to deal with. What’s frustrating, is the lack of real action against those who don’t comply or worse, just stick up two fingers.

    In my view, the real disincentive is this:

    Now that indefinite security of tenure has been re-established in Scotland, the next target for the Greens/SNP “non-coalition” is rent controls. Now, how has that worked in the past, as a disincentive to invest in private housing?

    Another thread on the article is lack of support for landlords. In most cases, we don’t need support, if the tenants are supported. At least there has been support for tenants in Scotland affected by Covid, initially with the tenant hardship fund and now the tenant grant scheme.

    More than ever, tenant selection is so important. If it doesn’t feel right, or looks too risky, wait for another tenant.

    In my experience, the actual covid problems are those that affect many businesses, such as difficulty in carrying out repairs and improvements and for landlords, the resulting increased voids. I’ll stop now, before I rant about empty property council tax charges, grrr.


    I agree, tenants have every right to know that their landlord is a fit and proper person, as we need to know that our prospective tenant is a fit and proper person to be renting to, tenant selection is key now, no risks, better an empty property than one with the wrong tenant in it, leave the wrong tenants to the wrong landlords, they generally deserve each other.

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    Licensing is not for improvement it’s a scam to make money for old rope for Council, divide & conquer it don’t apply to Family’s milking the system blind so blatant.
    Working Shares are expected to carry the burden for all, other related / connected Families 6-8 or even more no license required most on Benefits. It’s easy to know who occupy the Departments making rules for their own and who’s are very often milking the system. Rules should apply to all Renters or to no one. Some Boroughs are reported to be in line to take £20m out of the system, that’s an ideal method to destroy Private Sector Housing just add Section 24 disallowing interest payments while Companies can claim the lot, for good measure add Costs, Penalties, fines, Re-payment Orders, to really rub it in, Banning Orders. becoming popular.


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