Survey of the UK’s landlords provides key insights into the UK’s private rented sector.
Following our well-received tenant satisfaction survey, which gave us a unique insight into the UK’s rental market, we recently surveyed landlords for their views on the private rented sector to understand their experiences. The survey, conducted in October, received 1,882 responses. Landlords were asked for their views on the UK’s rental market, their experiences with their tenants and what they thought about their letting agent. Here’s what the survey revealed.
About the landlords surveyed
Our survey spanned the entirety of the UK, receiving almost 2,000 responses in the process. As well as being nationwide, the survey also covered a vast variety of age groups, which allowed us to gain an accurate representation of landlords’ views on the private rented sector across a number of demographics.
For the full downloadable report see: HomeLet Landlord Survey 2015
1) Are you happy with your current tenant(s)?
The first finding of our survey shows us that an overwhelming number of landlords are happy with their tenants. Overall, our survey revealed that 96% of respondents were either ‘very happy’, ‘quite happy’ or ‘somewhat happy’ with their current tenants. This shows us the great relationships that most landlords have with their tenants and also reaffirms the findings of our tenant survey, where 86% of tenants were happy with their landlords. Overall, the relationship between landlords and tenants seems mutually beneficial.
2) Have you ever had to deal with a problem tenant?
However, although 93% of landlords are happy with their current tenant(s), our survey found that over half (51%) of landlords had to deal with a problem tenant in the past.
3) Do you reference your tenants?
The fact that 96% of landlords are referencing their tenants potentially goes part way to explaining why so many are happy with their current tenants. Of the 135 landlords who did not reference their tenants, 55% didn’t do so because their letting agent dealt with that part of the process, while only 13% (22 landlords) didn’t ‘feel the need’ to do so.
4) Do you use a tenancy deposit scheme?
Of the 1,882 landlords surveyed, only 73 do not use a tenancy deposit service. 4% did not use one at all, while a further 5% were unsure.
Of the 73 landlords who do not use a tenancy deposit scheme, 41% didn’t use one because their letting agent dealt with deposits. Only 7% were unaware that they were required to use a tenancy deposit scheme, with a further 9% not using one because the tenancy started before 6 April 2007.
This shows that an overwhelming majority of landlords are conscientious and actively keep up to date with the current legislation.
5) Have you ever withheld a tenant’s deposit?
Of the landlords surveyed, 528 have withheld a tenant’s deposit at some stage. Overall, only 29% of landlords confirmed that they had ever withheld a tenant’s deposit.
Of these, 49% withheld a deposit because of the state of the garden. This is interesting because, in our tenants’ survey, only 4% said their deposit had been withheld because of the state of the garden.
Only 15% of deposits were withheld because of damage to fixtures and furnishings, and only 13% were withheld because of issues with cleaning.
6) Would you ever consider a tenant with pets?
Over half of landlords (53%) told us that they would consider renting to a tenant who had a pet, but many left additional comments stating that they would only consider certain types of pet. 47% stated that they would never consider renting to a tenant who had a pet. With the pet population currently at 65 million and growing, tenants with pets is certainly an increasing market.
7) How many rental properties do you own?
Over half of landlords who answered our survey (55%) only own one rental property. 36% own 2-3 properties, and only 1% own 10+ properties. This shows us that the majority of landlords actually own only one or 2 properties, showing us that not many landlords own a vast portfolio of properties.
8) Do you use a letting agent?
Our research has also revealed that the majority of landlords use a letting agent to manage their property. Overall, 87% of respondents told us that they use a letting agent.
When these figures are broken down regionally, they also offer some interesting statistics. For example, 100% of respondents in the North East use a letting agent, while only 79% of respondents in Northern Ireland do.
Of those surveyed, 81% of landlords told us that they use a letting agent for a fully managed service, allowing them to take a back seat. Only 12% of landlords use a letting agent to find a tenant, while only 5% used them for a let only service, suggesting that many landlords are adopting a ‘hands off’ approach.
Of those using a fully managed service, 61% of respondents told us that tenant referencing was in their top three reasons why they use a fully managed service. Expertise came second and was selected by 55% of respondents, with 47% selecting ensuring that they were compliant with recent legislation.
9) What is your primary reason for not using a letting agent?
Of the landlords who responded stating that they don’t use a letting agent, 43% said that their primary reason for this was cost. A further 34% said their primary reason was that they wanted to meet and be the main point of contact for their tenants, while 30% stated they enjoyed managing the properties themselves.
10) How easy do you find it to fill your properties when they’re vacant?
As a sign of the current demand for rental properties, no landlords told us that they found it ‘very difficult’ to fill their properties, while 70% found it easy. This research also aligns with our previous HomeLet Rental Index releases, which show that average rents for new tenancies has increased, suggesting that demand for rental properties continues to increase, with demand outstripping supply.
11) How often do you correspond with the tenant?
Of all the landlords who don’t use a fully managed letting agent service, most landlords correspond with their tenant either monthly or quarterly, with 27% of landlords responding with each answer, showing us that most landlords are keeping in semi-regular contact with their tenants. Only 1% (as you may expect) communicate with their tenant on a daily basis, while 5% correspond annually.
12) Do you have a mortgage on your rented properties?
Of the landlords surveyed, there was a fairly even split between those who had a mortgage on their rented property and those who owned the property without a mortgage. It’s likely that this is influenced by how the person became a landlord…
13) How did you become a landlord?
There was an even split between respondents of either gender about how they became landlords. Although interestingly, 23% of men became landlords due to a change in personal or marital status in contrast with only 9% of women.
When the respondents are split via age group, it becomes clear that many younger landlords became landlords due to a change in personal or marital status, whereas people in older age groups did so either as a pension investment or because they inherited property. Either private or individual property investment as a motivating factor was evenly split among all age groups.
14) Do you plan on increasing the rental amount on any of your rented properties?
Our survey also showed that 57% of landlords plan to increase the rent on their properties in the near future, with 34% confirming they plan to do so within the next 12 months and a further 9% telling us that they will in the next 6 months.
When analysed on a regional level, we can see a large discrepancy between various regions. For example, only 4% of landlords in the North East aren’t planning to raise the rent at all, while 46% of landlords in the West Midlands aren’t planning on raising the rent. In Northern Ireland, this is as high as 58%, with only 4% of landlords from the region planning on increasing the rent in the next 12 months. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops in upcoming HomeLet Rental Index releases.
Of landlords planning to increase the rent, 26% stated that their primary motivation for doing so was an increase in letting agent fees. 17% were doing it in order to fund renovations to the property, and only 19% said that their primary motivation for increasing the rent was to increase profit. Of the 26% who replied ‘other’, many stated that it was to keep up with inflation and market forces.
15) How long do you intend on being a landlord?
From our survey findings, it’s clear that the majority of respondents see themselves as landlords for the long term. Overall, only 2% stated that they only planned on being landlords for the next 6 months or less, with 19% intending to be a landlord for more than 20 years. Overall, 79% of landlords plan on remaining as a landlord for 5 years or longer.
16) What’s the worst or most stressful part of being a landlord?
In terms of responses offered, the most popular reply from landlords about the most stressful or worst part of the job was the high turnover of tenants, with 18% finding it stressful. Interestingly, only 3% thought that it was too time consuming.
Of those who specified ‘other’, many stated that they did not find it stressful.
To conclude, our survey’s found that the vast majority of landlords are planning on staying as a landlord for the long term, with 96% happy with their tenants and keeping in regular contact with them. For more insights into the private rented sector, and to make sure you’re up to date with the latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to the Landlord Lowdown newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.