76% of councils report an increase in landlords selling up and warn of increased waiting lists

76% of councils report an increase in landlords selling up and warn of increased waiting lists

10:58 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago 55

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Councils warned today of a growing crisis in the private rented housing sector, with a sharp rise in landlords selling up or converting their properties into Airbnb’s. The District Councils’ Network that represents over 200 councils conducted a snap survey showing 76% of councils have seen an increase in landlords selling up properties.

Shortages are particularly bad in councils areas popular with tourists, with landlords switching their properties to more profitable short term holiday lets.

76% of councils surveyed by the District Councils Network (DCN) said that this had caused a rise in housing waiting lists, causing more people to lose homes, and making it harder to find permanent accommodation for those in need. 48% of these councils said they were now experiencing significant pressure on housing services due to this.

One council in a popular tourist destination in the south-west of England has reported a nearly 80% drop in the number of open market, long term rental accommodation available in their local authority area over the last three years, with many landlords leaving the market or providing short term accommodation for holidaymakers instead.

This news comes at the same time as a report by property agent Zoopla revealed that rents in the private rented sector have reached a thirteen year high, with a 6% increase in the last year. Councils are reporting that this rise is forcing some long term tenants to apply for hardship support from their local authority, with some council areas seeing rents rise to over a third higher than the average salary in their local area.

Councils are warning that the housing benefit many suffering hardship receive will likely not be sufficient in the longer term, as the Government looks set to keep Local Housing Allowance rates, which determines the amount of benefit received, frozen over the next year.

Landlords are leaving the market due to the impact of the pandemic, with tenants unable to afford their rents, landlords requiring to move into a property themselves and a rise in ‘staycations’, leading to a boom in the short term holiday let market.

The District Councils Network, who represent nearly 200 district councils across the country, is calling on the Government to increase investment in council housing and give councils the tools they need to create their own permanent housing for people in their communities in hardship.

District councils stand ready to work with the government to proactively increase the supply and quality of homes for benefit claimants, ensuring those in need can have a permanent roof over their heads in their local communities in the future.

Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Chair of the District Councils Network said: “This survey reveals a perfect storm of problems creating a crisis in the private rented sector across the country.

“Now the Government’s Eviction Ban has ended, this is a problem that could get worse, with councils also seeing increase in the numbers of tenants needing housing support due to increased evictions due to rent arrears.

“During the pandemic, district councils and the government worked together to help protect those who are most vulnerable through the Everyone In initiative, the temporary banning of no-fault evictions, and other measures such as furlough and the Universal Credit uplift.

“We need to urgently tackle this issue by permanently lifting housing benefit for tenants in private rented housing and for increase in Government support to invest in a renaissance of council house building to create homes, jobs and growth.”



Comments

by Gromit

11:17 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

No s**t Sherlock.
Do you think excessive regulation, licencing, punitive fines, penal taxation, with more jn the pipeline might have something to do with it?
Chickens are coming home roost.

by john glynn

11:22 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

Well who’d have seen this coming? Certainly not George Osborne. The Conservatives were once the party of enterprise. They’re a complete shambles!

by MarkT

11:28 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

This really does not surprise me and I am quite amazed that the government and councils didn’t see this coming. And this article seems to have missed one of the other major factors.

They are continuing to pile on more and more regulation, higher fines etc and then removing the ability to claim interest as an allowable expense. As one of the southwest larger private landlords with interest payments of over £48K a year, this was the final straw that made me decide enough was enough. How can any valid expense of £48k just be ignored. I still have to pay it!

Yes I could look at all sorts of ways, using companies etc but this does not change the fact that the PRS is on the governments radar as an easy target to get money , be it from tax changes, licensing or whatever comes next.

Over the last five years since the introduction of the S24 rules, I have sold 26 properties so far and have offers on a number of others and will continue for another year or so until they are all gone. This has removed a large number of family homes from the rental market as all were average 2 or 3 bed family homes.

And from talking with other landlords, I am certainly not alone in this thinking. I will no doubt continue in the property arena, buying, renovation and maybe even looking at AirB&B properties.

But my days as a landlord are coming to an end!

by Freda Blogs

11:33 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Gromit at 13/12/2021 - 11:17
Don't forget the pending EPC changes! Oh - and a likely return awaits to the old days when possession could not be obtained in a reasonable timeframe, which killed off the PRS. It only recovered when ASTs were introduced and possession became achievable in defined circumstances - such as non payment of rent.
Government has a short memory.

The playing field between LL and tenant is far from level, to the extent that it is now precipitous for a landlord, with minor infractions (whether or not accidental or having an impact on a tenant) or when having the tenant from hell will deliver serious stress and life changing financial consequences. Why bother taking that risk any more?

A quiet tenant-free life is increasingly attractive...

by GraemeG

11:35 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

This is solely a consequence of poorly designed government policy. I have stopped adding single let properties into my portfolio as the net margins are now significantly lower than other capital investment opportunities and with a bouyant market for selling residential properties I can understand why many landlords are selling, most likely to owner-occupiers. The segment most affected by this trend are lower income. Typically not able to save for a deposit and get a mortgage and having to operate in a rental market where the gap between demand and supply continues to grow. The key question is how far does this situation degrade into a crisis before the government realise that their policies achieve the complete opposite of the desired outcome for people that either prefer to or have to rent.

by Coastal

11:36 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

Why couldn't their report have just been honest, stating the real facts as to why landlords are leaving the market, rather than the "due to the impact of the pandemic" B S! Now beginning the same process as you Mark T, not something I wanted to do, but had enough!

by Mick Roberts

11:56 AM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

I don't know why we keep saying it, obvious to some of us.
And as I read prior comments, we all say the same.
They got a few years £'s out us with Section 24 & Licensing & Council Tax empty properties etc. But boy what a maths calamity, costing them a lot more now. Never mind the human cost on Benefit tenants.

Yes please build more council houses, but in the mean time, as Ian Narbeth says:

They have succeeded in driving private landlords out. Now they see the results of their actions.
They should be listening to these words we'd like to say to Govt, Councils, Shelter, Generation rent etc.
"How can you ensure the people who provide desperately-needed accommodation get paid so that they continue to house those who would otherwise be homeless?"

If u wish me to stop quoting this, please say Ian. But great very true words.

by Luke P

12:14 PM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

You cannot force a property owner to rent a property. Even if they exit altogether, even going as far as to sell to a tenant, that is both a finite number of properties (and therefore nowhere left to place blame as the problem of housing shortages continues) and a less mobile workforce.

by Suresh Parikh

12:26 PM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

It is no doubt good to have different views.
Did you read the article below this one?
BTL activity up 83%.
I never trust statistics.
So which is it or both?
76% down and 83% up?

by David Price

12:34 PM, 13th December 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Suresh Parikh at 13/12/2021 - 12:26
Both could be correct, 75% of LA's seeing Landlords Selling AND loans for BTL up by 83%.
You cannot compare the two figure for they relate to entirly different activities, the first to reduced property and the second to borrowing money.

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