A letting agent trade body is warning a squeeze on profits from increasing tax and licensing costs could force many landlords to give up buy to let.
The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) argues that rules governing letting out a home are complicated and vary too much between councils.
London, for example, already has 29 licensing schemes with more in the pipeline.
Renting out a three-storey home with five unrelated tenants costs from £125 for a licence in the City to £2,500 in Lewisham.
New measures are expected in the summer that will increase the number of homes needing a licence by around 160,000 in England.
Burden on landlords
NALS chief executive Isobel Thomson said: “We should be clear that licensing houses in multiple occupation helps protect tenants and drives up standards in the private rented sector.
“But the maze of licensing schemes operating in the capital is a huge financial and administrative burden on landlords, with some councils seeing them as a new revenue stream.
“With landlords under pressure from a host of tax and regulatory changes, this increased burden is likely to push them out of renting out homes at a time when they have a key role to play in providing much-needed housing.”
Meanwhile, an updated How To Rent guide for new tenants has been published by the government.
New guide for renters
Landlords must give new tenants the latest copy of the guide when they take over a buy to let home or move into a shared house.
The new guide edits out former London mayor Boris Johnson’s London Rental Standard.
“This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process,” said a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The guide offers advice and a checklist about what to look for before renting.
Tenants can also learn about living in a buy to let home, what to do if things go wrong in the home and how to end a tenancy.
Landlords can download the How To Rent checklist and guide for free as Acrobat Reader files.
Tenants can be given a printed or electronic copy.
Failing to give the guide to new renters means landlords cannot evict them.