RLA warn of buy-to-let supply crisis as landlords sell up

Terraced houses in London with estate agent boards

The government has been accused of “choking off” buy-to-let supply by the Residential Landlords Association who warn of an impending rental property supply crisis.

A new survey by the group found more landlords are selling buy-to-let properties than buying them despite demand from tenants continuing to grow.

The survey of over 2,700 landlords found that almost 25% had seen a demand for private rented property increase over the last three months. Only 15% said that demand had fallen, while 41% have said they haven’t noticed a change.

Of those asked, 31% said they were going to sell at least one property in the next 12 months. Only 13% said they plan to buy at least one.

The RLA’s research comes as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned of a rise in rent over the next five years as a result of demand for housing outstripping supply.

Recent data from Rightmove also showed record rents across the UK partly as a result of high demand. 

The buy-to-let sector has come under increasing scrutiny and subjected to several tax changes in recent years, forcing many landlords to reconsider their position.

The RLA is now calling on the government to introduce “pro-growth” policies to kick start the sector, including scrapping the Stamp Duty levy on the purchase of second homes in cases where a landlord is adding to the net supply of available buy-to-let homes, such as buying up long-term empty homes for rental properties.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “Those who argue that a smaller private rented sector is good for tenants wanting to buy a home are plain wrong.

“The government’s policies are choking off the supply of homes to rent whilst demand remains strong. This is only making life more difficult and potentially more expensive for those looking for somewhere to live.”

“Without an urgent change of course and the introduction of pro-growth policies the situation will only become worse.”

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28th October 2019