Buy-to-Let Landlords Remain Confident in the Face of Changes

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The results of the second annual survey conducted by Simple Landlords have been released, and the outcome is perhaps a little more buoyant in tone than might have been expected. Despite recent changes in the marketplace for landlords, including the cut in tax relief on landlords mortgage payments, many landlords still remain positive about the year ahead. Indeed, most of those who responded to the survey aim to continue in the same way they are now, rather than trimming back their property portfolios or taking other mitigating actions. This is despite the additional stamp duty surcharge that is now being applied in the buy-to-let arena as well. No problem with Brexit Just 9% of the landlords who took part said they were going to put a hold on expanding their current portfolio as a consequence of the vote for Brexit earlier this year. In sharp contrast, 3% of those questioned said they were actually planning on buying more properties. Will rents go up? It looks as though this may happen in some cases. The survey found one-fifth of landlords were planning on increasing the amount they were charging for rent in the next 12 months. While it is currently unclear how landlords will react to the drop in tax relief, some may consider passing those costs onto their tenants by raising rents. However, by far the vast majority of landlords almost four-fifths, or 79% – said they were going to keep the rents at the same level they were at currently. This left 1% who said they planned to reduce the amount they were currently charging their tenants. How many landlords might sell properties as a result of government changes? The changes in tax relief rules will certainly affect all landlords. However, it would appear only a small proportion of them will look at selling one or more of their properties as a result. The survey found just 9% were planning on doing this. A further 12% had decided to wait for a while before considering purchasing more properties a fact that could have some impact on the housing market in the near future. A good or bad change? It would appear most landlords are adopting a wait and see approach before taking any real action as a consequence of the changes they have been faced with in recent months. It has been reported that many landlords are starting up limited companies to dodge the tax rules in a legal manner, although there are still plenty who have yet to do this. So while some may exit the market or downsize their property portfolio, others look to be hanging fire to see what happens and a few are seizing the opportunity to actually expand the number of properties they have. But as Brexit negotiations begin in earnest, it is clear that few landlords are worried about the effect Brexit might have on their income and portfolios. It may be a challenging time, but it seems many landlords are ready to meet that challenge.