Buy to let landlord confidence is reeling after a series of tax hikes viewed as attacks on property investors.

Research revealed that 59% of landlords believe that scrapping tax relief on finance interest for high earners and a 3% surcharge on stamp duty for second homes and buy to let property will reduce their profitability.

This rises to 81% of portfolio landlords with more than 20 letting properties, according to the study by research firm BDRC Continental.

While 48% of landlords with mortgage free homes believe the short term prospects for the centre are good, this plunges to 39% for landlords with mortgages.

To try and escape the tax changes, around a third of landlords are considering moving their businesses into a company.

A fifth of portfolio landlords are already trading as a company, compared to 6% of landlords with fewer than 12 properties.

Mark Long, director at BDRC Continental, explained that landlords had not felt so despondent about the prospects for buy to let since 2006.

“There are few happy ever after tales here, he said. “Many private landlords in Britain are really concerned about the impact of the 2015 Budget when tax relief on private rental properties was cut, and given the housing shortage, the potential knock-on effect on renters and the supply of rental homes is something that we all need to care about.

“It’s quite clear that the sentiment among landlords is really low, which is a shame because so many people rely on private rented property to provide them with a home.”

The survey also disclosed that the average buy to let landlord has a string of eight properties, which are mostly terraced homes, with a value of £1.3 million.

Most were funded with a mortgage and the average landlord owes at least £720,000.

The property business generates gross rents of £57,000 a year.