The UK’s leading  landlords association  has hit back at claims that landlords have contributed to the housing crisis by leaving properties empty.

The combination of heightened demand for housing and an estimated 700,000 empty properties in England has led, in some quarters, to suggestions that landlords play a prime role in the housing crisis, withholding properties for rent.

However, new research carried out by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has challenged this interpretation.

The RLA surveyed its members and found that 62% had less than 10% of properties in their portfolio lying idle.’


And the respondents who did have empty properties were active in trying to rent them out: 41% or undertaking renovation work before they could be rented out – 5%.

Other reasons for properties remaining unoccupied included landlords being in the process of re-taking possession from tenants, landlords trying to sell properties and only 4% saying that they could not afford to refurbish a property to rental standards.

RLA chairman Alan Ward believes the research comprehensively rebuts claims about the role landlords play in the housing crisis, and stated categorically that such claims make no sense considering the reasons people acquire private housing.

“It is unfair to point the finger at landlords. Quite simply landlords are not in business to leave properties empty – they invest in real estate to generate rent and yields,“ he said Ward.

“It is not in the interest for any landlord to keep their properties empty – for each day a property is empty it is costing them in lost rent, council tax payments, utility charges, and in many cases, mortgage and loan repayments.

“Properties are empty for many reasons including planning delays, probate and business disputes, sentimental family reasons, and lethargy or indifference on the part of the owner – none of which have any relevance to the actions of landlords in the private rented sector.”