Almost a quarter of UK landlords entered the business accidentally

Some 24% of UK landlords, that’s around 360,000, came into the residential private rental market accidentally or unintentionally, new research has found.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) survey asked landlords why they first entered the buy to let market and found that 11% were by chance such as inheriting property.

It also found that 5% acquired an extra property such as when they met a spouse or partner, 5% intended to sell a property but experienced difficulties and 3% had to relocate for work, either home or abroad.

Central London was found to have the highest proportion of accidental landlords at 31%, followed by Wales at 29% and then the East of England and Yorkshire, both with 27%. The North West had the least with just 15% claiming to have got into the business unintentionally.

The research also found that 30% of 10 landlords with a single property only break even or make a loss.

‘The figures show that there are a significant number of people who find themselves as landlords without ever having really planned to enter the market,’ said Carolyn Uphill, NLA chairman.

‘It may be surprising to find that so many single property landlords struggle to make it work, but we often find that this is because so many simply don’t realise what they’re getting themselves into. While a buy to let property can provide a steady return, you’re in business to provide a home for someone else so you need to know your obligations and make sure that you have a plan to make a success of it all,’ she explained.

She pointed out that all landlords can sign up to the NLA for free to see how the organisation can help make a success of their business. The NLA offers free best practice tenancy agreements and other sample forms and letters which may be needed during the life cycle of a tenancy.

Alternatively, enlisting the help of a letting agent is an option if you prefer a more hands off approach but just make sure they are a member of a reputable trade organisation such as the Association of Lettings Agents,’ added Uphill.