Are the days of the amateur landlord over?

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A leading British landlord has declared that the heyday of the amateur landlord is gone, but may experts disagree.

Judith and Fergus Wilson, among the largest private landlords in Britain, has sold nearly half of its residential property portfolio of 900 properties, The Financial Times reported in September 2016.

Fergus Wilson said:

“It is the wrong time to be an amateur landlord? Yes. Some people will succeed but on the whole, too many amateurs walk into pitfalls…The day of the amateur landlord is over.”

An amateur landlord is a person who owns one or two properties that make up part, but not the whole, of his income. A July 2014 report from the National Landlords Association estimated that around 70% of buy-to-let houses are owned by part-timers.

Buy-to-let landlords have been hit by the 3% rises in stamp duty, cuts on mortgage tax relief, and stricter affordability checks on commercial mortgages.

Many property investment experts do not agree with the Wilsons. Nicholas Wallwork, editor of the website Property Forum, said in September 2016 that the UK buy to let market is “very much alive and kicking.”

Meanwhile, Yorkshire letting Agents Linley and Simpson has reported a 78% increase in buy-to-let sales during July and August 2016.

Though recent government measures have made it more difficult for buy-to-let investors, low interest rates are still available on commercial mortgages. This means that many landlords, professional and amateur, are still investing in the buy-to-let housing market.

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