While the public’s image of a typical landlord might be a money-grabbing property professional, the reality is different in Wales.
Nearly all (98 percent) of Welsh landlords surveyed own fewer than five properties and more than half (53 percent) only own one, highlighting that very few landlords in Wales rake in profits from owning huge property portfolios, according to the study by online letting agent MakeUrMove.
Only 13 percent of landlords in Wales became landlords because they wanted to create a property business. Instead, 53 percent of landlords rent out a property to save for retirement and 16 percent let a property they inherited, while 9 percent became landlords through various other accidental and unplanned circumstances, such as splitting with a partner or having negative equity.
A majority of the Welsh landlords questioned in the study by MakeUrMove let property as a subsidiary income to their main occupations, which varied from builders to nurses, to retail managers and postal workers.
One landlord said: “Not all landlords are in it to make masses of profit, some of us rent out our homes – which weren’t bought specifically to rent out – as it is the best option, and we make our tenants feel welcomed and happy in our home.”
Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove, said:
“These figures shed some light on what landlords in Wales really look like. The reality is that wealthy, multi-property owning landlords are quite rare. Most Welsh landlords are ordinary people working in regular jobs who are renting out a property to try and save for their retirement or to supplement their main income. They work as electricians, taxi drivers, hairdressers or social workers – they are just regular people who want to maintain healthy, stress-free relationships with their tenants.
“We’ve found that a good number of landlords in Wales fell into renting their property through unforeseen circumstances such as inheriting a property or struggling to sell their own house. Many of these landlords start on a consent to let mortgages and later become buy-to-let mortgage holders, and having a mortgage on the property means they are forced to pass on the costs to their tenants.”
The research also found that almost half of landlords in Wales have only been a landlord for 3 years or less, with many admitting they are new to the market and lack understanding of laws and regulations. The new landlords are a symptom of the churn in the sector with many accidental landlords exiting the market after only a small number of tenancies.
Alexandra added: “The private rental sector (PRS) is undergoing significant changes at the moment, with the Government bringing in a tenant fees ban, considering ending no fault evictions and introducing new regulations relating to houses of multiple occupancy, all designed to improve the lives of tenants.
“With so many landlords having come into the role by ‘accident’ and owning only a small number of properties, it’s vital that the important work of protecting tenants is balanced with the need to support small landlords who make up the backbone of the PRS.”
The survey by MakeUrMove also revealed that landlords in Wales are similar to their counterparts across the UK, with two thirds of landlords in the UK have what many would class as ‘normal’ jobs, and rent out property to supplement their main income.
The four most common occupations for UK landlords came out as office admin roles, alongside jobs in IT, teaching and accountancy.