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Letting agent rips into landlord survey of buy to let 'quitters'

A lettings agent has poured scorn on a survey suggesting a quarter of landlords are about to quit buy to let, describing it as “less accurate than the polls that missed Brexit and Trump.”

The Residential Landlord Association recently issued a survey based on responses from just over 1,000 buy to let investors claiming some 25 per cent would leave the private rental sector because of tax changes including the stamp duty surcharge and the upcoming restrictions on mortgage interest tax relief for buy to let investors. 

The RLA wants Chancellor Phillip Hammond to reverse the measures in next week’s Autumn Statement. 

But Ajay Jagota – head of north east lettings and sales firm KIS - is dismissing the claim and says it demonstrates a wider problem of misleading or incomplete data affecting decision making in the housing market, in particular with regards to regional variations. 

“I’m not disputing that these tax changes will affect landlords and that the ultimate losers will in all likelihood be the tenants whose rents go up to cover those costs – but this poll is less accurate than the polls which missed Brexit and the election of Trump” says Jagota.

“We work with a similar amount of landlords to the total number who took part in the survey, and not one of them has even hinted to me at any point this entire year that they are thinking of selling up. Other major agents I’ve spoken to have said the same thing. So where are these one in four landlords who are packing in?” he asks.

He suggests these may be “1,000 probably self-selecting landlords” who in reality do not speak for the owners of the nine million rented properties across the country.

“There’s a wider issue here that some eye-catching headline figures are once again failing to accurately reflect reality on the ground. It happened in the 2015 election, it happened in the EU referendum, it happened in the US presidential election – but it also happens in housing” he insists.

“As a local agent you know the micro details about community you serve which will be missed by - even the Office of National Statistics would miss. You can even see when an individual street is on the up. But you are then told that statistics show how things are entirely different from what you’ve seen with your own eyes” says Jagota.

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    Landlords are quitting I have noticed an increase in properties for sale that are rented. There are a lot of properties advertised in both the "to rent" and the "for sale" sections of well known websites.

    The premise "rent it or sell it, what ever happens first", thats a new one.
    Landlords up until now held on to their properties whilst borrowing against the equity to buy another property but with BTL mortgages so difficult to get and the tax thats going to hit landlords, thats changing.

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    I have not noticed Landlords selling, but people are now having to sell their properties rather than decide to keep them and rent them out which is causing a lack of available stock.

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    The RLA stands by its sell-off statistics.
    While we welcome the feedback from Mr Jagota and are delighted to hear how well things are going for landlords in the north east, we would like to make it clear that the RLA does not rely on such anecdotal evidence to make claims about the state of the sector.
    What we do rely on is solid, robust evidence provided by our members themselves and collected using recognised research methodology in-line with the UK Research Integrity Office’s Code of Practice for Research.

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    Ajay Agota ought to speak to councils who are already feeling the effects of this. Peterborough are spending an additional £1.2m since April alone on rooms at Travelodge, which they say is almost entirely as a result of landlords selling up due to this policy. Expect to see many more stories like this in future.

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    Also, the NLA regularly run large surveys of its membership and results are similar. I've seen many long-term landlords, including myself, saying they will be forced to sell properties and evict the good, happy, long-term tenants that reside there. This policy disgusts me.

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    Sally walmsley would you care to share this robust Factual evidence with us all?

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    Hi I am a buy to let landlord with a decent size portfolio and will be selling larger family homes to reduce borrowing and release equity. On my other properties I will be raising rents annually for the first time in 12 years all due to s24 the most evil spiteful tax you could imagine it's a disgrace it's even got this far

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    Hi I am a buy to let landlord with a decent size portfolio and will be selling larger family homes to reduce borrowing and release equity. On my other properties I will be raising rents annually for the first time in 12 years all due to s24 the most evil spiteful tax you could imagine it's a disgrace it's even got this far

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