327 landlords responded to the question “are you more or less confident in the rental market than last month?” Of those who said they were more confident, most cited tenant demand as their reason. Comments included:
• “Lots more people looking for property than last year and rents have increased.”
• “Demand for rented properties still good.”
• “Yet again no voids due to large number of tenants out there.”
• “Rental demand up, interest rate staying low. Looking good for now.”
Landlords from the south-east and south-west were particularly likely to say that demand in their areas was up.
For those who were less confident, government cuts, particularly to benefits, loomed large. One landlord commented at length:
• “I try to give good housing to people who are unemployed and on benefits, so I’m concerned that I will have to evict people when the new benefit rules come out as they won’t be able to pay the rent. I don’t charge unreasonable rent. It mainly just covers the mortgage.”
Others who said they were less confident were concerned about the general economic conditions, and some even bucked the trend towards increased demand:
• “I’m less confident. Is there going to be another dip? Banks may be only riding the wave on the back of quantitative easing.”
• “I’ve had to drop prices of new lets for first time in 10 years.”
James Davis, Upad’s CEO said: “Despite strong tenant demand in the private rental sector currently, we’re still seeing very low longer-term confidence in the industry. It’s going to take more than a month or two’s bullish headlines before landlords start to feel that things have got better – if in fact they have.
“Though it’s helpful to have buy-to-let mortgage providers like Paragon back in the marketplace, landlords still face very real practical problems. A third of all landlords in the past 12 months have faced rent arrears, and keeping voids to a minimum must be a key concern in the current climate. With cuts hitting all sectors of the economy hard, plus concerns about housing benefit changes and their knock-on effects for the private sector, no one can afford to be complacent about their rental business.”
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