Have your say: BBC wants to know why there is a shortage of privately rented homes

A number of buy-to-let landlords have divested their portfolios and left the private rented sector (PRS) in recent years due to an increase in regulation and taxes, and that in turn has reduced the supply of much needed privately rented homes in some parts of the country.

Tax hikes, including stamp duty changes on buy-to-let and the loss of tax-free allowances, have driven away some landlords and crippled the PRS, with most property professionals, including agents, acknowledging that being a landlord is now much harder than it was say five years ago.

National journalists at the BBC have now asked Propertymark to conduct research into the PRS and what lies behind the shortage of stock.

With the UK government’s Renters’ Reforms White Paper looming, the consultation on A new Deal for Tenants in Scotland and legislation coming into force including the Renting Homes (Wales) Act and the Private Tenancies Bill in Northern Ireland it seems no landlord or agent is safe from further regulation.

The PRS is the second largest tenure, and the main housing option for many people, but still Propertymark says the governments across the UK are missing the mark.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark CEO commented, “Through our contacts we have been offered the opportunity to put this issue onto a national platform and present our side of the story. The housing system needs a balance of tenures, and the value the private rented sector brings must not be underestimated. Landlords provide much needed homes and the country cannot afford to lose them.

“We have an immense opportunity to get some solid evidence in front of decision makers and huge media outlets.”

The survey is open to the whole sector and Propertymark says it will provide significant information for use in conversations with governments and politicians when lobbying for the sector against detrimental proposals as well as by the media.

Do you think the PRS is under attack from policy makers? Share your views by clicking here.

 

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27 Comments

  1. JMK

    I’ve posted this recently but seems appropriate to do so again.

    Some of the reasons that landlords are deciding enough is enough…..
    1.     
    1.  1.  S24 (disallowing of finance costs including mortgage interest)
         2.  Additional 3% SDLT on property purchase  
         3.  Premium of 8% CGT when selling property
         4.  Banning of letting agent fees
         5.  Halving of lettings relief
         6.  Prospective banning of ‘No DSS’ wording in adverts
         7.  Promised banning of S21 notice
         8.  Growing trend of councils charging hefty licence fees per property
         9.  Changes to HMO regs including minimum room sizes
         10. Right to rent checks (now shown to be discriminatory and there is no guidance on how to deal with EU immigrants)
         11. Benefit tenants migrated to UC causing lengthy delays in rent payments and often substantial arrears
         12. Unable to get housing benefit paid direct unless history of bad money management
         13. Scrapping of Wear & Tear allowance
         14. Introduction of EPC minimum requirements (even on HMOs) which can be difficult to meet with older properties
         15. Unfit for human habitation legislation
         16. CO detectors must be fitted (nobody is saying it’s a bad thing!)
         17.  100%+ council tax on properties being refurbished between tenancies.  Not even the 25% single person discount
         18. Substantial increases in court costs for use of S8, thus making S21 more popular
         19. Membership of compulsory redress scheme for agents (and most likely for landlords soon)
         20. Limit on amount of deposit we’re allowed to take
         21. Rogue landlord database
         22. Proposed 3 year minimum tenancies though not sure what the value of this would be with the abolition of S21 (which has promised to be abolished)
         23. Some councils now charging council tax on HMO rooms
         24. 6 month notice periods
         25. Eviction moratorium, extended moratorium, Christmas moratorium
         26. EICR legislation that only applies to the PRS, apparently social tenants don’t need to be safe.  Upto £30k fine if checks not done.
         27. Proposed EPC to be made C (up from E)
         28. Proposed legislation to force landlords to accept pets (but cannot take extra deposit)
         29. Having to consult with non-paying tenants in regard to giving them ‘breathing space’
         30. Form N5B (S21) has gone from around 3 pages to nearly 30
         31. In Wales the minimum notice period is now 6 months and can only be served at the 6 month point of a tenancy, meaning a minimum 12 month tenancy unless contract is breached.  The tenant only has to give 28 days notice
         32. Again in Wales, it is proposed that Council Tax is to be replaced with a land value tax payable by the property owner
         33. Rent controls are being touted as a solution to the rises in rents caused by all the above
         34. In addition the Shadow Chancellor has promised further landlord taxation if Labour come to power.

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    1. MrSerious

      Thank for reposting this list.  Helpful, albeit frightening!

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  2. PaulC

    I am convinced we are about to see the biggest housing crisis we have ever seen in my lifetime on the private rented sector.

    The number of landlords looking to exit is significantly higher than I have ever known.

    The council’s will have no hope in housing the tidal wave that is about to hit them.

    And the tenant demand will push up rents to unaffordable levels.

    We are based in Wales and the Welsh landscape is even worse than the English part of the world.

    Combined with the cost of living crisis Renters will have an even harder time getting out of the rented sector.

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  3. MickRoberts

    If the Anti Landlord rules were relaxed, we would see normal market forces, supply demand, competition come back lower rents.

    I’m massively affected by this.
    I want to sell approx 40 of my houses, was going to do this by natural wastage ie. tenants moving of their own accord as I used to get 3 or 4 move every year if I had nothing for them. However with all the Imbecile Govt & Council Landlord attacks, my Benefit tenants it looks like can never move again.

    In Nottingham, it’s nigh on impossible for a Benefit tenant to ever secure Private Rented accommodation again cause of Selective Licensing & Universal Credit.

    Below is part of long letter I’m having to whatsapp my tenants giving them 10 years (now 8 years notice)

    I’d like to sell about 30-40 to the Council (with tenants in) which I’ve got me MP looking into as apparently he knows all them in that department from years ago.
    And even if I sell 40, I’m still gonna’ have too many as I get older.
    My problem is my tenants can’t move any more & I’m not crapping on those that have been good to me.

    I send the below to the tenants ONLY after they’ve spoke to me about potential move etc.

    I’ve not finished this, only rough draft.

    It is proposed by Govt & Councils, you can’t live in your own house if you don’t reach a certain minimum EPC standard by 2028. Please read later on below.

    Most of u r very good. But are u perfect? Read Licensing conditions and tell yourself:
    1. Could u comply with all them.
    2. Would u take any tenant on that wasn’t the most prim proper person ever?
    3. If u was a landlord getting older, would u want to be dealing with that for EVERY house EVERY tenant?
    4. Could u be doing with giving out 200 pages to each tenant each house.
    5. Would u take a Benefit tenant on after being told u had to comply with them conditions?
    Selective Licensing conditions Feb 2022

    Few Extracts from why Landlords selling & why Benefit tenants can’t get houses any more & why rents extortionate:
    from pieces I & other Landlords wrote on the issues u need to solve. Long I know. But work with us and rents will reduce.

    Please ring me about this text and read to the end before u panic.

    We’d like to sell your house within 10 years for the reasons below. We can sell it u and pay your deposit for u, if u r able to buy it. Sell it to someone u know who would keep u in. We have people who may buy & keep u in.

    Lot of Landlords give tenants 2 months notice. We recognise this is your home, and would never contemplate selling on u if you’ve done nothing wrong, however the Council’s and Govt are making it really difficult for the good Landlords-All to get back at the bad Landlords.

    We are only in this position cause the Council’s and Govt are bringing that many rules in retrospectively, they making it extremely hard for good landlord that’s abiding by the rules and is getting older, to carry on.
    We doing 4 times the amount of admin, paying out thousands in unnecessary costs-Nothing which makes your home better.

    U should all really be writing and meeting your MP and Councillors and Govt and Council and telling em what they are doing to people who didn’t have a problem before.

    The latest rule they are now proposing to bring in in 2025 for new tenants (2028 for existing tenants) is EPC to a C. I’ve already got the Combi boiler, UPVC etc., so it’s external wall insulation & possibly heat pump. Approximately £30,000 each house, but they not bringing it in for Council houses or Owner houses-Only to Private Landlords.

    I never thought we’d be in the trap we in now where Councils and Govt have made it that bad for Landlords, that it’s made it extremely hard for Benefit tenants to move house.
    Years ago, u had a choice to move, and then I’d have sold your house as u moved on. We all in a trap where u can’t move now if u want to. Govt and Councils has done this to u. Landlords packing up in their droves due to Licensing and Universal Credit.
    It’s also the bad tenants some of these rules are being bought in for, which makes it unfair for u good ones.

    I used to be able to give u keys, service your boiler and u tell me when something needs doing.  I’m now doing courses at 4am just to keep u in your home. And many of u aware, I don’t want the houses any more, only keeping them to keep u in your home.

    U can buy it now if u or your buyer can arrange it. Also happy to wait for u up to 10 years. I’ll pay your 5% deposit if u can buy it.

    Please work with me and let’s find a Landlord that is younger and not weary of the all the latest rules, who’s happy to keep u in for 10+ years. I’d get a lot more selling it empty, but I’m mindful that it’s been your home for years, so am prepared to lose £10,000 to sell to discount Landlord to keep u in your home.
    And selfishly, I can’t carry on forever in a job that the Govt & Councils are making it harder & harder & more hours on unnecessary burdens.

    I may have a few people now who wish to buy and keep u in if u wish to go ahead now.

    Some of u have been with me 24 years and I don’t take this decision lightly.
    Some of you’s kids are also getting older and your Housing Benefit towards the rent will drop massively when your kids are 18 or leave. I used to have affordable flats for u to move into. Now the people aren’t moving from my flats any more.

    Govt & Councils are making far too many retrospective changes when the tenant has already lived there years & the Landlord bought the house years ago. If people have not had a problem for years, Govt & Councils should be rewarding them and lower costs, not penalising them and higher costs.

    U can start to stop this spiralling lack of supply of houses to yourself by emailing the below and putting your name address phone number at top of email.

    Councillor who responsible for Licensing fee increase

    Nottm Council Labour boss who supports Licensing

    Nottingham North MP

    Below is other reasons which are forcing my hand:

    We now have to do Fitness tests on new rentals £150 each house.
    Electrical Installation Condition reports organisation & implementation £300+ each house.
    Selective Licensing £890 just for one house.
    Legionnaires checks £70 each house.
    EPC’s £80 each house.
    EPC’s soon to a C each house approx £10,000
    Data protection checks £40.
    Carbon Monoxide detectors & smoke detectors, when wired, £300 each house.
    Getting registered with Information Commission officer £40.
    Floorplans, Inventories £90 each house.
    Landlord has to criminal check himself & has to prove he has Right to live in UK
    Increased staffing admin behind the scenes.
    As you’ve seen, checks/inspections on your houses now with smoke alarms-Should be much more detailed checks.
    Consultant & Legal fees to keep pace with legislation & staff training.
    Letting Agent costs for new tenancies & house swaps £70pm each house.
    All the above is extra costs we din’t have when many of u moved in.

    Below are other reasons why Landlords are packing up & why u can’t get anywhere any more, & remaining Landlords charging what rent they like:

    1. Wear n tear allowance scrapped.
    2. Stamp duty for BTLs.
    3. 100% council tax payable on void properties from day 1 (not even a 25% discount).
    4. Reduction in deposit amounts ( 5 weeks is woefully inadequate).
    5. Unable to take pet deposits.
    6. Council tax single banding for HMOs.
    7. Section 24 tax, no other business is unable to offset their costs.
    8. Numerous unfair decisions against landlords made by the deposit schemes, whilst landlords are unable to have a rogue tenant database, only a rogue landlord list.
    9. Scrapping of fees for application and referencing which has led to higher costs from agents.
    10. The lack of help with COVID and the court system being unfit for purpose, with a further insult of section 21 being scrapped!

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    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      The Huge point that’s being made by the comments above is that all these Govt interventions (  much at the behest of so-called Tenant support groups )  have actually made the situation of tenants  WORSE,  not better.

      Manipulating – Interfering in business –  market forces is going to produce what the Govt is finally seeing as a  ‘potential blip’ on their radar – in the horizon.

      Simply put, –  Local Authorities will be inundated with Housing requests they will have no chance in accommodating.  If they thought Emergency accommodation was bad now  (  which it is, – they ain’t seen nothing yet )

      Govt call it Unintended consequences –  referring to abolishment of Sec 21.

      They haven’t realised  All the other unintended consequences of the past 10 years of  ‘ shoot from the hip ‘  regulation.

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    2. Robert_May

      Hello Mick I know someone who will be keen to talk to you about your portfolio

       

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      1. MickRoberts

        A journalist to hear the Landlords side?
        Or someone to buy? I have several looking to buy, but I know what they gonna’ do, they gonna’ just increase the rents on the existing tenants or give them notice. I can’t do that to Long term good tenants. Although I also recognise I can’t go on forever, so I am ramping up the conversation with my tenants. But I can’t desert ’em yet. Although as we all know, we can’t do this as we get older, going to prison when u 75 cause the tenant has took the batteries out the smoke alarm.
        Giving tenants Govt/Council required new build standards on a Govt Benefit rent that is £300pm below the New build requirement.

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        1. localagent735

          while the sentiment is great for you not wanting your rental costs to increase for your tenants. If you haven’t increased the rental value for a number of years then they may well be paying well under the market value.

          Surely a compromise could be reached, should you sell your portfolio, and your tenants have an increase in rent but to or just under market value. The tenants may be happy to pay a little more but have some more security of staying in there home.

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          1. MickRoberts

            Yes Robert,
            By all means, I’ll talk to ’em & I do need numbers for when it gets worse & I get older, I just know right now, my tenants are saying No way. And I can’t do that to good ones yet.
            Now, if I have jippy awkward non paying tenant, then I have no morals or conscience to that person, it’s their fault then, & I will & I have sold with them in it.

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        2. Robert_May

          someone to buy. I should talk to them an hear what they have to say  as I don’t think abusing tenants is the game they’re in. I wouldn’t knowingly  put my name to wrong doers, spivs or chancers

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        3. MickRoberts

          Yes I agree Localagent735,

          I have several paying £500pm & all surrounding rents are £850.
          I have said this to them, if u pay more now, then when we do sell, u have better chance of Landlord keeping u there & leaving the rent as it is, as if u paying £300pm below normal rents, new Landlord will think I’m not having that, whereas if u maybe £100pm below market rent, he/she may accept it & leave it.

          They just don’t trust anyone else & keep winning me over to leave as is.

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          1. aSalesAgent

            Careful Mick,

            If you find you’re unable to sell with the tenants-in-situ because they’re paying way under local-market rate, you may be stuck with months’ of court action and arranging bailiffs. The reason being that the tenants would likely be unable to afford a like-for-like property, then advised by the local authority to ignore the S21 Notice.

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            1. MickRoberts

              Ooh don’t I know that.
              I’ve got about 20 years to come of court action & bailiff’s. Let’s hope we can find amicable way forward, as Govt & Councils has made it so that no Landlord in Nottingham will ever take a Council Benefit tenant again. Mine are STUCK in their homes forever.
              My tenants can’t afford one single property elsewhere in Nottingham.

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  4. Neil Robinson

    The housing crisis can be fixed very quickly if the government simply stopped punishing the very people who could solve the crisis.

    – Repeal the absolutely effing stupid 3% stamp duty surcharge

    – Repeal the even more stupid tax law that now disallows us from including interest payments in our costs. There is no other business sector that bans this.

    – The eviction process was fine before they tinkered with that, too.

    Then, simply stop demonising landlords. We know there are rogues out there, but the majority simply want to provide safe, clean, well maintained homes, and they provide exactly that.

    And also, educate tenants. The general public need to know that the gap between the rent and the mortgage payment isn’t profit. The gap is there to ensure that the property and all its related costs can be paid for.

    It’s going to be much easier to get, say 300,000 private individuals to buy one more property for rental purposes, than it is for the government, or a handful of housing associations, to build the same number of homes, by putting the right incentives in place.

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  5. Will2

    The BBC is part of the problem with reporters like Matt Alright always knocking landlords and NEVER putting a balanced view. This is because the media in general terms like to sensationalise to improve viewing figures.  The Government are too busy buying votes and in bed with their mates at Shelter, an organisation that claims to be a housing charity that provides NO HOUSING. Then you have Generation Rent or Rant as I think of them, a left wing political pressure group. ALL these people demonise landlords and have being doing so for many years now – it seems to be in their DNA. All the aforementioned feed of the PRS to justify their existance. The ongoing demonisation is driving landlords away. The term Rogue Landlord has been used to brainwash the public into believing all landlords are Rogues but so many Councils are Rogues as is the DWP who manipulate claims having had to fight at tribunal every time my disables son’s reviews come up (which we always win) – corrupt department in my opinion. It is a matter of fact that 85% of tenants are very happy with their landlords so those like the BBC choose to never give a straight story – the good does not get viewers. Sure their are rogues but their is in charities and Government and everywhere else. The Media are ROGUES using their own standards of biased reporting. MickRoberts in his comments sets out reality but it is NOT what the BBC, Government, Shelter, Generation Rent etc what to know. Thank goodness it is still a market of sorts and the market is reacting to the demonisation of landlords – this is why there supply is dropping and demand rising.  YOU, (BBC, GOV, SHELTER, GENERATION RENT) are getting the results of you bullying efforts demonising a complete sector of housing supply. YOU are seeing the results of what you have sown. I stopped investing in rentals 5 years ago when the demonisation proved fashionable and looked clear it was going to carry on when politicians stepped up to buy tenant votes and political activists jumped in NONE OF WHO RISK THEIR OWN MONEY. Welcome to the problems YOU have made and the stupidity of not understanding housing history and expecting investors to fall into your political traps. This is of course a personal opinion but I suspect many landlords/investors will probably think in a similar way.

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    1. Will2

      PS the manner is which the questionaire is aimed soley at letting agents and WILL NOT canvas the views of a major section of the market – the landlords themselves and investors. it will therefore be a very slanted result.

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    2. MrSerious

      100%

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  6. undercover agent

     

    There are too many anti-landlord regulations. If you remember the story of Gullivers travels, you’ll recall he was tied down by hundreds of tiny threads. Each thread on its own wasn’t a problem, but the accumulation of lots of little threads can stop the market from acting as it should to provide housing for the homeless. Each law might seem harmless on its own, but the collective effect of restrictive legislation can have adverse and unforeseen consequences. The rules often end up causing havoc and devastation for the very people that it was claimed the rules were intended to protect.

     

    People argue for new laws for a host of misguided reasons. Some reasons are selfish, such as thinking it will harm their competition, or thinking it will protect them. Some reasons are well-meaning but from people who are just badly educated or misled, such as thinking the laws will benefit the groups that the law is stated to benefit regardless of the actual real-world consequences. But some reasons are just malicious, such as lawmakers wanting to throw a spanner in the works out of revenge that their life not being meaningful enough, or in the hope that by influencing the creation of laws, it will give their life the meaning they crave and the feeling of power they desire. They pretend to help the downtrodden while bearing no cost for the actual negative consequences of their rules and their additional taxes.

     

    Lawmakers are not necessarily virtuous or wise. Most are acting out of self-interest and will throw the common person under the bus to benefit themselves. All under the cover of “helping the downtrodden”.

     
    Politicians don’t seem to understand our industry or the economics of the housing market (or don’t want to). In my opinion, this shows they don’t really care about tenants.

     
    We tell them that a Tax on landlords is a tax on tenants, as it reduces the number of landlords, which pushes rents up, but they don’t want to listen to it.

     
    There is a misconception out there that if a landlord leaves the market and sells the property, it has no effect on the market because a tenant can buy that property as a first-time buyer.

     
    This forgets that landlords build to rent, convert land and buildings (such as commercial buildings) into residential accommodation for tenants and split up large buildings into flats to house more people. In other words, the amount of housing available is not a fixed number. Accommodation is not a zero-sum game, the size of the pie can change.

     
    It’s a bit like when women entered the workforce in the 1950’s. People worried because it looks like a woman can take the job of a man, just putting a man out of work, but jobs are also not a zero-sum game, there is not a fixed number of jobs. Less women in the workforce does not benefit men. You can see this in countries where women are still kept out of the workforce. The situation there is worse for both men and women.

     
    A woman can replace a man, like a buyer can replace a tenant, but that’s not the whole picture.

    In short, any tax on landlords (Financial or legislative) that encourages landlords to leave the sector, is actually a tax on tenants. Perhaps politicians do understand this and are looking forward to homeless tenants voting them in to provide a housing solution? However, the solution to too much government interference in the market is unlikely to be more government interference in the market, but then, I’m not a politician so I can only speculate as to the incentives and restraints that politicians work under.
     

     

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  7. CountryLass

    My responses;

    What are the largest hurdles; Impossible and ever changing EPC standards, many  rental properties have a higher EPC rating than the Landlord’s house, and are certainly in better condition than the social housing sector, and yet we in the PRS are getting pounded. Abolishing S21 and forcing longer notice periods for Landlords means that a Landlord has to face the possibility that it could take 12 months to regain his own property back. The possibility of being FORCED to accept pets, without being able to take a pet deposit! A Landlord gave a tenant with a dog a chance, and has now had to replace all of the carpets, but the deposit barely covers the cost of that, let alone the other work needed.

    Expecting letting agents to do the Home Office job of proving someone has the right to be in the country?

    Extra taxes meaning that the money Landlords could be putting by to maintain and improve the property is now being spent on tax, meaning that the improvements are paid for by the Landlord and not out of the property, means that being a landlord is actually losing them money!

     

    Biggest issues facing the longevity of the PRS; All of the above, with no end in sight for the constant financial attacks and demonising of people just trying to provide a decent level of housing for people, to help prop up the Government’s abysmal failure of a social housing sector.

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    1. AcornsRNuts

      The revised Right to Rent guidance runs to EIGHTY SIX pages.

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  8. jeremy1960

    The trouble with organisations such h as ARLA is that they only canvass their members. I suggested when we agents were faced with the tenant fee ban that they contacted every agent in the land, they refused to do so and as a result few responded. They need to contact every agent to stand a chance of getting a decent number replying.

    Ply and generation rant must be laughing their heads off at the pathetic response from ARLA!

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  9. MrSerious

    I consulted Mrs Serious about whether to do the survey, but as per comments above, with the BBC involved it will be biased, distorted and probably contain lies or concealed truth, i.e. Fake News.  It will not benefit anyone.  So I will not do it.  But I do want to reply here in support of our property colleagues.

    We worked solidly for 40 years, up to 16 hour days mostly in Central London, and paid £100,000s in taxes and NI.  Building up a pot of savings from taxed income, and inheriting a little, we gradually acquired a small portfolio (<10) of small flats.  Nothing grand, but satisfying.  Our policy is to carefully select good tenants, charge the market rent but never more, manage closely to ensure compliance and be very responsive to sort out any issues arising.  As a retired property professional we have the knowledge, ability and time to operate it, doing all the work ourselves.

    Been quite successful I think, for all concerned, with a series of very happy tenants, no voids ever (touch wood), and some very nice email exchanges when tenants decide to move on and usually buy their own place.  We have provided an essential service to them, mostly young working couples.  I am sad for those tenants, and those in the future, who will be punished by the effect of Draconian Government.

    Echoing all the previous commentators here, until about a year or so ago we had no intention of selling or reducing portfolio.  @JMK and @MickRoberts most helpfully listed out above all the blatant attacks on our sector so well; it was frightening to see them all laid out so neatly there!  So we are now planning to sell, probably all of our properties, and re-invest the equity elsewhere.  God knows where at the moment, but we’ll find something.  We may even become Dragons!

    It’s not just the current burdens, it’s the future risks.  The lists above are only what we know about today; who knows what idiotic ideas they will come up with tomorrow.

    Peace to all.

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    1. Will2

      Snap same senario. Then people say you are lucky!! I explain the virtues of hard work long hours not luck!!!

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      1. MickRoberts

        And going without for years so u can have it later.
        Except the Anti Landlord brigade say Ooh u doing well, we want a piece.
        I get several tenants say
        Mick, I bet you’ve paid your mortgage off by now, I’ve been here 20 years, u should let me off.
        I say
        Yes course I will, if u pay me for them years when I was losing £200pm on your house for several years.
        They go silent. Most of my tenants are educated on the crap that Govt & Councils have done to them through the Govt/Council attacks on the Landlord.

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        1. Will2

          Mick  You put it better than I do!!!

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  10. aSalesAgent

    There is huge demand from people wanting to get on the property ladder; I can sell some homes 12 times over. By making BTL investment more attractive, demand for property would increase which in turn could lead to a steeper increase in both house prices and rents (due to the higher cost of mortgage repayments, etc). Leave the 3% SDLT surcharge alone and build more homes.

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  11. Deltic2130

    Aren’t the BBC funny?! To think the whole world has been warned repeatedly this would happen yet the BBC remain clueless. Nobody wants landlords. Sell up and go, we are told. Yet now we’re doing that, everybody stands around scratching their heads in bafflement. Laughable, idiotic fools.

    Oh, and PIE is no better. Yet another article that blames SDLT and W&T allowance, yet strangely completely ignores the biggest and most obvious hit of them all – Section 24!!! How this keeps getting repeatedly missed or glossed over by every report or article that appears anywhere is unfathomable. It is the biggest, most obvious cause of high rents and homelessness and until a journalist spots this and starts getting angry about it, nobody in authority will care and nothing will change.

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