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.