What are Landlords' Biggest Concerns for 2017?

The job of landlords has been getting increasingly complicated as the housing crisis persists, and various plans of action have been proposed in response. While the high demand for housing makes it a good time to let your property at attractive rates, there is an ever-changing (and growing) number of policies with which landlords need to comply.

There’s no doubt that the rental sector is transforming rapidly. That's why the landlords' insurance company Homelet has conducted a survey of over 4,000 landlords from all over the country, to find out what their biggest concerns are for 2017. Here are the broad strokes:

(More) new laws

Many of the biggest changes in the past few years have not been a result of market forces, but rather of the government’s reactions to these. From 3% stamp duty to the ban on agents charging letting fees, housing- and letting-related legislation has been plentiful, dramatic, and often worrisome for landlords.

With that in mind, many landlords are both fearing and hoping for new legislation in the coming year. 31% of the landlords responding to the Homelet survey list new laws as their biggest concern for the next year.

Restrictions on lending and tax relief for interest

Two closely related issues that have major implications with regard to financing rental properties are restrictions on mortgage lending, and on interest tax relief. Each category was listed as a concern by 29% of respondents in the Home Let survey.

While the restrictions on tax relief will largely affect those landlords in the higher tax brackets and may decrease their returns, limitations on lending will affect those landlords looking to acquire new properties and expand their portfolios.

Brexit and the fallout

With the recent activation of Article 50, Brexit has officially begun, but the full implications of it have yet to become clear. Many landlords (roughly 19% of survey participants) are therefore still understandably concerned about what it will mean for them.

The biggest issue here relates to supply and demand with regard to rental properties. A large percentage of London landlords, for example, may be worried about a depletion of the EU migrant tenant population in the famously diverse capital.

Housing prices

While the general trend in housing price values has been up, up, up in the past few years, most predictions foresee a general slowdown in 2017. This has around 14% of survey respondents worried.

Rental values are, of course, also a concern, but landlords tend to like to see the overall value of their portfolio grow as well – and that’s why it makes sense that a slowdown would cause some concerns.

Rent arrears

Finally, over half of respondents to the Homelet survey said they had had a bad experience with a problem tenant. This is an age-old problem when it comes to rental properties, which goes to show that even in a time of rapid transformation, some things never change!