Landlords 'increasingly apprehensive' over rental market tax changes
Nearly half of landlords plan to quit the residential rental market entirely or scale back the number of properties on their books in the next few years, with many fearing tax changes will hit their profits, a survey suggests.
Some 46% of private landlords surveyed by Axa say they are considering withdrawing from the residential market or reducing their portfolio by 2020.
More than two-fifths (41%) of landlords believe they will be worse off as a result of tax changes.
In 2015, it was announced that from April 2017, tax relief for residential landlords would gradually be restricted.
Buy-to-let investors will no longer be able to fully deduct mortgage interest payments from their tax bill.
Landlords have already been hit with a stamp duty hike imposed on people buying second homes from April 1 2016.
More than two-thirds (68%) of landlords feel "stigmatised" for running a rental business, Axa said.
Some felt landlords were being used as scapegoats for the housing crisis, it found.
A separate report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has said it expects shifts in the tax regime "to significantly reduce the number of private buy-to-let landlords in the market".
Gordon Rutherford, head of marketing at Axa Insurance, said: "F ew landlords are professional property tycoons: two-thirds in the UK are 'accidental' landlords.
"They tend to own just one rental property that they've inherited or are finding hard to sell, and they make a modest income once time and expenses are out.
"They do feel increasingly apprehensive, as we can see from the numbers thinking of withdrawing their properties from the rental market in the coming years."
Nearly of 400 private residential landlords took part in the survey.
A Treasury spokeswoman said: "We are reforming the tax system to help people achieve their aspiration of home ownership.
"We know that nearly 90% of people want to own their own home, and yet only around 60% do.
"That's why by restricting the mortgage reliefs available to landlords, we have addressed the unfair advantage they enjoyed over others trying to buy a house."