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Graham Awards


Buy to let thriving but landlords should re-purpose properties for Covid

The number of UK landlords has risen 49 per cent in the last five years to an all-time high of 2.7m claims a lettings agency.

London agency ludlowthompson, which makes the claim, says the growth is down to property’s strong record of returns to investors.

Whilst rental income from buy to let investments has remained relatively stable during the coronavirus crisis, UK blue chip shares have seen their dividends slashed and commercial property funds have had to temporarily close as many tenants stopped paying rents, notes ludlowthompson.


The agency cites figures from stockbroker AJ Bell shows that dividend payments from FTSE 100 companies are expected to drop by 24 per cent in 2020. 

Similarly, the commercial property market has fared poorly, with 54 per cent of tenants in discussions with their landlords about taking a rent holiday.  

A study by law firm Boodle Hatfield showed that UK listed property companies collected just 67 per cent of rents due for the June quarter.

Despite the UK's troubled employment market, residential property landlords have seen relatively fewer problems with rental arrears, claims the agency.

Out of the 1,500 tenancies managed by ludlowthompson, only four per cent of tenants have had to go into a rental deferment plan in the third quarter of 2020.

The relative stability of the residential property market through the pandemic has mirrored the resilience it showed during the credit crunch.

Stephen Ludlow, chairman of ludlowthompson says: “The buy to let market has continued to provide a reliable return on investment for landlords, even during the worst of the pandemic when other forms of investments went through a period of intense volatility.

“The historic resilience of residential property means many private investors are still looking to add to their holdings, particularly before March 2021 when the stamp duty holiday ends.

“We would advise existing and prospective landlords to consider re-purposing their properties to meet the changing needs of tenants. With people spending more time at home, having extra space both in and outdoors has become more important than ever. Outdoor areas and home offices are both in very high in demand, as is accessibility to high-speed WiFi.”

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    My properties are as seen. Some have gardens, some have spare rooms. Not a lot I can do to change things.

    I do ensure they are handed over clean. Any infections are brought in by tenants, not by me. That's my contribution to making them suitable in current circumstances.


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