600,000 Landlords Thinking About Selling Up

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Thousands of landlords are considering cashing in their buy to let investments prompted by picking up fewer tax breaks and having to spend more time dealing with regulation governing dealings with tenants.

Around 600,000 (41%) of the country’s 1.5 million landlords are thinking about selling up, according to a survey by landlord insurer LV.

They say the cost and time involved in property management is so great that they are thinking of quitting.

The findings show that the average landlord spends up to £3,000 a year on keeping a rental home up to scratch.

Costs of buy to let

The costs include renovations and refurbishments (£370), replacing or repairing the boiler (£370), fixing structural damage (£313), decorating (£265) and garden maintenance (£203).

Two-thirds of landlords say the carpets in their property are most likely to be damaged by tenants (66%), with walls (45%), white goods (27%) and doors (24%) also high on the list.

Due to the way tenants treat their homes, landlords spend the most money on replacing or repairing flooring (£322), white goods (£298), cleaning at the end of a tenancy (£178) and removing items left when tenants move out (£149).

Accidental damage is covered by landlord insurance, but one in eight landlords (13%) do not have any cover.

Dealing with maintenance and damage can impact the landlord/tenant relationship, said LV.

Stressed by disputes with tenants

A third of landlords admitted they were stressed when dealing with bad tenants, although 46% said they have never had a dispute with a tenant, while one in four have a dispute once a year and 6% once a month.

The most common disputes with tenants are triggered by late rent payments (43%), damage to property (41%), cleanliness (33%), disputes over bills or deposits (10%), pets (9%) and sub-letting (7%).

Heather Smith, managing director of the LV’s general insurance business, said: “Being a landlord is not without its challenges and it’s clear that many are feeling the strain due to tax and regulatory changes facing the industry.

“Finding the right tenant is crucial. Although the majority rarely experience tenant disputes, it’s clear that, when they do, the disputes are challenging and potentially costly.”

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