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Government policy is affecting landlords more than the pandemic

Demand for rooms has rocketed in recent months, coinciding with a huge shortage in the number of rooms available in the UK. Unsurprisingly this has resulted in many tenants struggling to find places to rent. In fact, a recent SpareRoom survey of over 6,000 renters found that 96% of Brits are struggling to find accommodation at the moment.

The increase in demand has been driven by people coming into the market, rather than moving within it. According to the poll, many are moving back out of parents’ or friends’ houses, flat sharing after renting on their own or owning a property, and overseas students (and students in general) are starting to return to cities.  

SpareRoom surveyed over 400 landlords to find out what has caused this drop in supply. Almost 60% of landlords (59%) said they have fewer rooms to fill than this time last year, and almost half (43%) of those with fewer rooms said they had filled all their rooms and they were now tenanted.

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director, commented: “There’s no doubt Covid hit the rental market hard. Last year it was landlords struggling to fill rooms - this year it’s tenants struggling to find them. But the pandemic isn’t what’s keeping landlords awake at night - it’s government policy. Recent legislation and tax reform made it clear that the government wants to steer the private rented sector away from an over-reliance on smaller investors. More legislation seems inevitable.”

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