Reviewing 2009, Davis said:
* This year we saw the rise of the "accidental landlord" – the year that property owners were unable to sell, but were instead forced down the route of having to rent their entire properties, or rooms within them;
* Banks closed and bolted the front doors, and buy-to-let mortgage products became scarce. And, for the first time ever, defaults on buy-to-let mortgages became higher than residential mortgages;
* In 2009, the amateur landlord has also been shown up, many previously bought in developments without viewing them, and – for many – this "relaxed" approach has back-fired;
* This was a challenging year for the private rental sector.
Looking towards 2010, Davis said:
* 2010 will be the year of opportunity. The number of buy-to-let mortgages available has increased and will continue to do so;
* A number of providers are beginning to enter the buy-to-let space, and, as a result, existing landlords are adding to their portfolio. New landlords are also entering the market and this is the ideal time – before inflation kicks in;
* Upad fully supports the Raise the Roof campaign to get the Rent a Room scheme increased to £9000. Raising the threshold would not only help home owners avoid mortgage arrears and repossessions, but it would also free up affordable housing stock. Everybody wins if the threshold is raised;
* Today, the internet has enabled landlords to self-manage their properties – they can buy and download Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements, and inventories, for example. And, sourcing tenants has become a far easier and attractive option;
* Unemployment levels will dip further early in the New Year, and the affordability gap for first-time buyers will increase, which will result in an increasing demand for property rentals;
* House prices will continue to increase, but this will not be reflected by peoples’ salaries;
* And, a shortage of housing will drive up prices in 2010, particular in tenant hot spots, such as London and other major UK cities;
* From a tenant’s perspective, renting a property in the UK will no longer be a taboo.
"Landlords need to grasp the opportunities that 2010 will present," Davis said. "But, they must start running their property rental as a business, only then will they avoid unnecessary void periods. They should learn from 2009, and go into the sector with open eyes."
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