Reluctant landlords begin to disappear as house prices rise

The number of home owners who are being forced to become reluctant landlords has dropped for the third consecutive quarter, according to the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (Arla).

Over the past two years falling house prices and a shortage of mortgages caused many home owners to become “reluctant” or “accidental” landlords, as they could not sell their home.

But the upturn in the housing market has changed that – Nationwide said that house prices have risen for the sixth consecutive month.

Arla’s research shows that 60pc of its members’ offices reported property being rented out rather than sold during the third quarter of this year. This number has dropped from 80pc in the second quarter and 95pc in the first three months of the year.

It said that the figures suggested that fewer home owners were struggling to sell their property and being forced to rent it out – supporting industry-wide speculation that the housing market downturn is coming to an end.

Ian Potter, operations manager of Arla, said: “The fact that the number of reluctant landlords has dropped once again, and supported by the rise in demand for buy-to-let, suggests that movement is beginning to occur across the market. What remains key is that all landlords – reluctant or otherwise – are fully aware of their obligations to their tenants.”

Forty-eight per cent of members in “prime” central London areas reported rental property coming onto the market because it could not be sold, compared with 73pc last quarter.

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