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Trade association calls for government to halt PRS intervention

A trade association has called for a 'moratorium' on any further government intervention in the buy-to-let sector in order to stop landlords from leaving the market.

The Intermediary Lenders Association (IMLA) says the private rental sector is still absorbing the adverse effects of a raft of regulatory changes in recent years.

The organisation, which represents 42 banks, building societies and specialists lenders, says that any further changes could have implications for much-needed tenant choice and potentially raise rents.


Alongside its own lending figures, the IMLA cites the government's most recent English Private Landlord Survey 2018. 

It notes how official figures show that the number of landlords with one property dropped by 33% between 2010 and 2018, while 17% of landlords now own five or more properties, up 12% from 2010.

The data suggests that professional landlords now represent 48% of the PRS, up from 38% in 2010. On top of this, single-property landlords make up 21% of the PRS, down from 40% over the same period.

According to IMLA, there are several reasons for this shift, including a constricted buy-to-let mortgage market, large institutions investing in Build to Rent and government intervention making the PRS less profitable for small-scale landlords.

It notes the English Private Landlord Survey's finding that 61% of landlords planning to sell all or some of their properties would do so because of legislative changes introduced by the government.

IMLA's latest figures show that buy-to-let lending increased rapidly after the global financial crisis, from £4.5 billion in 2009 to £15.6 billion in 2015.

It says since then, however, purchases have fallen by more than 40% to £9.1 billion. 

At the same time, buy-to-let remortgaging has increased by a quarter, up from £22.3 billion in 2015 to £27.9 billion in 2018.

IMLA says that without the continued growth in numbers of smaller landlords that was experienced at the start of the century, net growth in buy-to-let debt has dropped sharply.  


"Landlords up and down the country are effectively having to fill the gap left by a shrinking social housing sector that is struggling to accommodate demand from lower income households," says Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA.

"At the same time, it must continue to meet the needs of people who either want the flexibility of renting or who are not yet able to step onto the housing ladder in the face of increasing house prices and tighter mortgage regulation."

She says IMLA is concerned that government intervention in the sector has affected small-scale landlords' 'ability' and 'appetite' to invest in property.

"As increased tax and regulatory responsibilities increasingly dis-incentivise landlords, we face a possible topping out of the PRS," she says.

"While it’s good to see professional and institutional investors increasing their stake in the nation’s housing stock, the number of one-property buy-to-let investors has fallen by almost half."

Davies adds that squeezing the PRS puts pressure on housing supply, increases rents and reduces the quality of rental accommodation. 

"We have repeatedly called for government to put the brakes on regulating and taxing our nation’s landlords. We urge a more moderate approach to ensure our private rental sector remains strong for the millions of renters who rely on it," she concludes.

Poll: Do you expect the government to continue interfering in the PRS in the coming years?


  • icon

    And what do IMLA have to say about Welsh proposals to introduce a six month notice period?

    Barry X

    ...indeed, or joint Labour & Green party proposals to ban rent increases for 5 years and then only allow tiny increases in line with the rigged government inflation index no matter what the market, or interest rates or tax increases or any other business costs are doing or hitting us with?

    ....or complete abolition of (no fault) s.21 Notices - that have already been seriously undermined and were hard enough to get into and through the courts as it was - leaving us to rely on the even more long-winded and much more difficult s.8 Notice where we have to somehow prove a tenant was at fault, and never realising that if all was going well we'd never want to evict a tenant because we are in the business of renting properties out and are now facing double-whammy fees (covering the tenant's too) for replacing them?!


  • icon

    I spy with my little eye a returning landlord, someone who knows how to deal with tenants and has little regard for the law, welcome back Mr Rachman.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 03 August 2019 20:45 PM

    Where there is money, the government and council will want to have a hand in it. Shame the regulations are not made with the country's economy in mind. The restrictions on immigration and foreigner's purchase of properties had already bring down the economy, now they are targeting their own citizens to fill up their pockets which they keep throwing it around without due concern for mounting debts because they didnt have to be responsible for it like we have to. All they have to do is keep digging deeper till the well runs dry!!!


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