Guest blog by Reapit, the UK’s leading supplier for estate agency CRM solutions.
According to data recently released by HMRC, there are at least 2.65 million landlords in the UK as of 2021, but how much do you really know about them? The following blog offers a breakdown of the landlords in Great Britain using data collected from a range of sources, including insights collected from respondents of Reapit’s Big British Property Survey, which was then collated in Reapit’s interactive 2021 State of Lettings Report.
1. Landlord portfolios: how many properties does each landlord hold?
45% of landlords have just one rental property in their portfolio, according to the English Private Landlord Survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) in 2018. Reapit’s Big British Property Survey also revealed a similar result, showing that nearly 50% of landlords own only one rental property in their portfolio.
When the MHCLG survey was released back in 2018, few landlords intended to reduce the size of their portfolio:
- 53% planned to keep the same size portfolio
- 10% planned to increase their portfolio
- 10% planned to reduce their portfolio
- 5% planned to sell their whole portfolio
The past year of COVID certainly knocked landlord confidence, however, despite the challenges of the preceding months, it would seem that COVID has not encouraged landlords to exit the market. In fact, the most recent Landlord Confidence Index for Q1 2021, published by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) in May, revealed that not only are landlords regaining confidence but that that the share of landlords intending to buy over the next 12 months is 50% higher than in Q1 2020.
2. Rent received: are landlords happy with their returns?
Of course, whilst landlords want to invest more in their properties, they also want to get greater returns on their investments. Reapit’s Big British Property Survey asked landlords to rate the amount of rent received for their property(s). The average response was 2.93 out of 5, showing that it was about right for most landlords, but there was certainly room for improvement.
3. Landlord concerns: what’s top of mind for landlords?
Reapit’s survey asked landlords what their biggest concerns were, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the leading results were damage to property, reliability of tenants, and rent arrears.
Damage and rent arrears understandably sat at the top of the list, and these findings echo the results of the English Private Landlord Survey, which revealed that damage was the foremost reason why 65% of landlords chose not to return a tenant’s deposit (either in full or in part). Furthermore, 33% of landlords in the survey said that they withheld deposits explicitly due to tenant rent arrears.
4. Property management: how do landlords feel about lettings services?
Our Big British Property Survey revealed that almost 60% of landlords prefer to manage their portfolio themselves, showing that whilst many landlords would rather let a lettings or property management agency do the legwork, the majority still prefer to maintain full control of their properties. Given that almost 50% of landlords in our survey have only one property in their portfolio, it is understandable that self-management is still preferable for many.
Nonetheless, most landlords are surely always looking to maximise the value of their investments, and the help of professional property management services and lettings agents can be enormously valuable for landlords keen to avoid the regulatory compliance, maintenance, and administrative challenges of dealing with tenants.
5. Property management: what would convince landlords to sign up?
When landlords were asked what it would take to convince them to move to an agency (if they did not already use one), the leading responses received often included:
- Having a more agreeable pricing structure (i.e., if fees and charges were reduced).
- Additional support when dealing with new regulations.
6. Property management: how did landlords find their chosen agency?
There are many excellent lettings and property management agencies out there, and landlords utilising such property management services found their chosen agency through a variety of avenues as revealed in our survey. In general, most landlords found their agency through research (24.64%) or through a family/friend referral (23.19%). However, as shown in the graph below, there are several divergences when that question is asked to landlords in different age brackets.
7. Property Management Services: which are most valuable to landlords?
Property Management offers many services which landlords might find valuable, and we asked respondents of our survey to select from a range of options to indicate the professional services they value the most, with the top three being:
- Rent collection (12%)
- Tenant screening (12%)
- Arranging repairs (77%)
These were the top three services most valued by landlords from their respective agencies or property managers in our survey, but there are certainly other benefits for landlords who choose to invest in property management services. Find out more in Reapit Sales Director Tara Sparrow’s feature on Why it pays for landlords to have a property manager.
8. Quality of Service: how do landlords rate the service received from their agency?
Customer service is everything, and in our survey, we asked landlords to rate the quality of service they received from their property management agency on a scale of 1 to 5. The results showed that respondents overall found their service to be good, with the average score overall settling at 3.75.