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Research Report: Survey of Private Landlords

By: Liam Reynolds
Published: February 2016

Research Report: Survey of Private Landlords - Shelter England

The number of people and families living in private rented homes has tripled since the turn of the 21st century, an unprecedented change in the way we live. Correspondingly, the number of people letting out homes has increased too - there has been a well-documented 'buy to let boom', and there are estimated to be around 2 million private landlords.

These landlords play a crucial role in providing homes, both now, and in the future, yet very little is actually known about them. To help us to understand landlords better, Shelter, via the YouGov panel, and with support from British Gas, have carried out the largest and most representative survey of private landlords since 2010, with a total sample of 1,071 UK landlords. A wide range of topics are covered, from who landlords are, to their attitudes and expectations, to finances, tax and repairs.

Key findings include:

- Most landlords surveyed only let out one home (59%), and 92% were letting out less than five.

- Over half (52%) had at least one issue with repairs or maintenance in the last twelve months.

- At least nine out of ten are complying with the law on Gas safety, and half of landlords (51%) are having regular electrical safety checks carried out, even though only a tiny proportion are legally obliged to.

- Nearly two thirds of landlords surveyed would prefer not to let to households claiming Housing Benefit (63%, 42% have an outright bar, 21% occasionally let to them, but prefer not to).

- Four in ten landlords surveyed who made letting decisions themselves, agreed that 'It's natural that stereotypes and prejudices come into it when I decide who to let to'.

- Over four in ten making letting decisions themselves (44%) agreed that the 'Right to Rent' legislation would make them less likely to let to 'People who appear to be/ I perceive to be immigrants'.

- Only a fifth of landlords surveyed rejected the idea of offering longer tenancies to renters, 31% said they would like to try longer tenancies and 33% are unsure, but would try them if they saw them working in practice.

A three page summary is included within the report.