Nearly half of landlords could quit residential market or scale back their portfolios by 2020, Axa survey suggests

The National Landlords Association says more landlords are using a letting agent to help manage thei

The National Landlords Association says more landlords are using a letting agent to help manage their property. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Almost half of landlords plan to scale back their property portfolios or quit the market altogether in the coming years amid worries that tax changes will hit their profits, a survey suggests.

Some 46% of landlords surveyed by Axa said they were considering withdrawing from the residential market or reducing the number of properties on their books by 2020, with four in ten (41%) believing tax changes would leave them worse off.

Following an announcement in 2015, tax relief for residential landlords will gradually be restricted from this month, with buy-to-let investors no longer able to fully deduct mortgage interest payments from their tax bill.

Landlords have already been hit with a stamp duty hike imposed on people buying second homes, which came into force on April 1, 2016.

Axa said more than two-thirds (68%) of landlords feel 'stigmatised' for running a rental business, while some felt they were being used as scapegoats for the housing crisis.

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A separate report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has said it expects shifts in the tax regime 'to significantly reduce the number of private buy-to-let landlords in the market'.

Gordon Rutherford, head of marketing at Axa Insurance, said landlords were feeling 'increasingly apprehensive' about the residential market.

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'Few landlords are professional property tycoons – two-thirds in the UK are 'accidental' landlords,' he said.

Nearly 400 private residential landlords took part in the survey.

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