The Changing Face Of Britain's Landlords

The face of Britain’s landlords is changing – and according to new research from Simply Business, the country’s property investors are getting older.

Analysis of over 300,000 insurance policies shows a steep rise in the number of female retiree landlords, with an increase of 43 per cent since 2009 – and a jump of 12 per cent in 2012 alone.

The rise of the ‘grandlord’ is particularly pronounced in the North East, which saw an increase in retiree landlords of over 40 per cent between 2011 and 2012. The smallest jump was noted in Scotland, but even there the number rose by 10 per cent.

But it is not just landlords’ age that is changing. More than 93 per cent of the landlords insured by Simply Business own just one property – suggesting that small businesspeople are defining the country’s rental market.

The Accidental Landlord

This figure can be partly attributed to the rise of the so-called ‘accidental landlord’. These individuals, who have been forced to rent out their property having found themselves unable to sell, have become a key feature on the rental landscape. There has been concern that, if the mortgage market were to suddenly improve and a chunk of those accidental landlords were to sell, the UK’s lack of rental stock would become even more acute.

But Simply Business’s research found that retiree landlords, accidental or not, are sticking with the rental sector. Almost three quarters of landlords over 65 have owned their rental property for more than three years, suggesting that ‘grandlords’ are continuing to make the most of rising rents instead of selling up.

Simply Business CEO Jason Stockwood said: “In today’s economic climate, choosing to rent out your own property rather than sell immediately has been a good option for many when looking to move.

“Buy-to-let can be a tough marketplace to enter, but there is a great deal of support available for those looking to take the plunge.”

Single-property landlords now form the backbone of the country’s rental sector – but many are under-prepared for the challenges they will face. Simply Business publishes tips and guides to help new landlords navigate the choppy rental waters. Find our landlord resources here.

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