Hundreds of thousands of landlords are thinking about quitting buy to let due to the increasing time and costs involved with renting out a home.
Around 600,000 landlords – just over 40% of the country’s 1.3 million buy to let investors – are thinking about selling up, according to new research by insurer LV=.
They blame losing tax relief on mortgage payments, the switching of costs to run a tenancy from renters to landlords under the tenant fees ban and the likely abolition of Section 21 no-fault evictions as the main reasons for their uncertainty about carrying on.
Another factor is the ongoing cost of managing a property, which the insurer suggests is up to £3,100 a year for every home rented out – a staggering £4.7 billion a year across the sector.
Top of the spending list are building work (£370), boiler repairs (£370), fixing structural damage (£313), decorating (£265) and gardening (£203).
Most landlords say tenants damage carpets (66%), with walls (45%), white goods (27%) and doors (24%) also high on the list.
The most expensive repairs are flooring (£322), white goods (£298), cleaning at the end of a tenancy (£178) and clearing possessions left when tenants move out (£149).
Some of these costs are covered by landlord insurance, but one in eight landlords (13%) do not have any cover.
Sorting out maintenance and damage can sour the relationship between landlords and tenants, the survey found.
A third of landlords confess they are stressed by bad tenants, although 46% have never had a dispute with a tenant, a quarter have a dispute once a year and 6% once a month.
The most common disputes are over paying rent late (43%), damages (41%), keeping homes clean (33%), disputes over bills or deposits (10%), pets (9%) and sub-letting (7%).