Government Policy Affecting Landlords More Than The Pandemic

Government Policy Affecting Landlords More Than The Pandemic

Demand for rooms has rocketed in recent months, coinciding with a huge shortage in the number of rooms available in the UK. Unsurprisingly this has resulted in many tenants struggling to find places to rent. In fact, a recent SpareRoom survey of over 6,000 renters found that 96% of Brits are struggling to find accommodation at the moment*. Interestingly, we saw the opposite happen last summer, with landlords desperate to fill empty rooms but tenants reluctant, or simply unable, to move.

The increase in demand has been driven by people coming into the market, rather than moving within it. According to the same poll of over 6,000 renters, many are moving back out of parents’ or friends’ houses, flatsharing after renting on their own or owning a property, and overseas students (and students in general) are starting to return to cities. This results in a lot of people looking for rooms without vacating their current property, putting pressure on the market.


SpareRoom’s research reveals exactly where these people are moving from:

–           Another Flatshare – 29% 

–           Parent’s home – 25%

–           Outside UK – 14%

–           A friend’s house/flat – 10%

–           My own rented properly (not shared with anyone else) – 6%

–           Partner’s house/flat – 5%

–           Student accommodation – 4%

–           A property I own – 1%

–           Other – 6%

Flatshare site SpareRoom surveyed over 400 landlords to find out what has caused this drop in supply**. 

59% of landlords said they have fewer rooms to fill than this time last year, and almost half (43%) of those with fewer rooms said they’d filled all their rooms and they were now tenanted. But this isn’t the only reason why landlords have less availability currently: 

  • 14% aren’t expanding their portfolio due to high house prices
  • 10% aren’t expanding due to uncertainty in the market
  • 9% have sold one or more of their properties
  • 8% can’t develop properties due to a lack of tradespeople or materials
  • 6% are planning on selling up and leaving the market

We asked landlords with fewer rooms which issues were currently affecting them the most – surprisingly the pandemic wasn’t a leading factor. Please see the results below: 

  • Increased legislation – 26%
  • Fewer tax breaks for Buy to Let – 22%
  • The threat of further legislation – 22%
  • Covid affecting their lettings business – 11%
  • Shortage of tradespeople – 10%
  • Shortage of building materials – 5%

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director comments: 

“There’s no doubt Covid hit the rental market hard. Last year it was landlords struggling to fill rooms – this year it’s tenants struggling to find them. But the pandemic isn’t what’s keeping landlords awake at night – it’s government policy.

Recent legislation and tax reform made it clear that the government wants to steer the private rented sector away from an over-reliance on smaller investors. More legislation seems inevitable. Although the Tenant Reform Bill has been put on ice until 2022, many landlords are concerned about what it will bring. What tenants want most is stricter regulations for dealing with rogue landlords, so it’s highly likely the sector will see further change in the coming months and years. Hopefully whatever the government chooses to do will target the real problem landlords and get them out of the market, making it a better place for landlords and tenants alike.”

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