Brokers see uptick in tenants offered first refusal on BTLs

Indeed, the government’s English Private Landlords Survey for 2021 showed that 22 per cent of landlords, representing 29 per cent of tenancies, plan to sell some or all of their portfolio.

“All our research shows that where landlords are leaving, they are considering a range of options. This includes selling to other landlords, moving to the short term lets market or selling to aspiring owner occupiers,” Norris said. 

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for UK Finance warned that the timeline for implementation of EPC requirements is short and that action is needed now to ensure properties are upgraded in the numbers required. 

The spokesperson said: “The transition to net zero must be fair and proportionate and not acting on this now will simply see poor performing properties pushed out of the rental sector without being made greener.”

But not all landlords have regulation jitters.

Jane King, chartered adviser for Ash Ridge Financial Services said in her experience, her clients are taking a long term view and holding onto their properties. 

King said: “They are taking equity from their portfolios to improve properties with EPCs of D of lower. These are experienced landlords with a long term view who want their properties to come up to scratch and do care about their tenants.”

Staton Mortgages director, Mike Staton said he feels the buy-to-let market is "still well and truly alive".

Staton said: "I have accumulated a big portfolio of buy-to-let clients over my career and only one of them has sold their properties during the past three years. For me, rental valuations are increasing significantly and although interest rates are increasing, these costs will inevitably be passed on to the tenant through rent.

"The landlord market is still fruitful and will continue to remain so, however with the new legislations coming into play, such as licensing and EPC guidelines, I think we will see the death of the 'cowboy' who has no intention to care for the wellbeing of their tenants and just wants to make a quick buck. That will not be a bad thing.”