UK sees rise in accidental landlords due to slower property sales market

While most landlords are in the business by choice, the last three years have seen an increase in the numbers in the UK letting out a property they had previously tried to sell.

A slower sales market in the South of England has revived the accidental landlord as more people chose to rent their properties out instead of waiting for a sale, new research suggests.

One in 12 homes that came onto the rental market in 2017 had been up for sale within the previous six months, according to a new analysis report from agents Bairstow Eves, part of the Countrywide Group.

It is the third consecutive year that this proportion has increased, although it remains well below the previous peak in 2010 where 11.2% of homes that came onto the rental market had previously been put up for sale.

London is still the accidental landlord capital of the country. In 2017 some 12.5% of homes coming onto the rental market had previously been up for sale, the highest figure since Countrywide’s records began in 2007, surpassing the previous 12.1% peak in 2010.

The report also suggests that with a stronger sales market outside the capital, would be sellers across the rest of Britain are far less likely to put their home up for rent. Just 5.6% of new rental homes in Scotland had been up for sale.

Also, compared with traditional landlords, accidental landlords tend to stay in the rental sector for a much shorter period. While the average investor owns their rental property for 17 years, the typical accidental landlord rents out their home for an average of just 15 months.

The report suggests that with mortgage rates remaining low, these discretional sellers can afford to let their home, while they wait and see what the future holds for the sales market. Indeed, nine in 10 accidental landlords put their property back up for sale after the first tenant moves out, rather than looking for a new tenant.