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A new private landlord survey has found that over half of buy to let property investors (52 per cent) do not use agents at all.
The private landlord survey published last week by the government revealed that just a third (34 per cent) of private landlords use an agent for let only, while just 9 per cent use one for both letting and management.
The remaining 5 per cent use an agent for management services only.
It is the first time since 2010 that the government has carried out such a private landlord survey, and during that time the number of households in the private rented sector has risen by 25 per cent from 3.6 million to 4.5 million.
There have also been major changes since 2010, including tax changes, a Stamp Duty surcharge of 3 per cent on the purchase of buy to let investment properties, and tougher lending criteria on buy to let mortgages.
The landlord survey questioned almost 8,000 landlords and agents registered with one of the three tenancy deposit protection schemes. It found a total of some 3.4 million live deposits registered, equating to 1.5 million landlords.
The vast majority of landlords (94 per cent) operate as individuals rather than as part of a company, and 45 per cent have only one investment property. Just 17 per cent own five or more.
The private landlord survey also found that over half (53 per cent) of landlords plan to keep their portfolios the same size, 11 per cent plan to increase the number of properties, and 10 per cent plan to reduce. A further 5 per cent plan to sell all their portfolio.
In regard to the question of longer tenancies, the landlord survey found that Three-quarters of landlords and agents are willing to offer longer tenancies, but 70 per cent said they would do so if it became easier to remove problem tenants.
The survey also found that 25 per cent of landlords and 10 per cent of agents are unwilling to let to non-UK passport holders, while 18 per cent of landlords and 6 per cent of agents are unwilling to let to families.
Landlords were also reluctant to rent to those on housing benefit, with 52 per cent saying no, compared to just 37 per cent of agents.