Only 4% of landlords run their properties as a full-time business, a new survey has shown.


Nearly half of landlords chose to go into buy-to-let as they preferred property to other investments, with 44% saying they did so to contribute to their pension.


The government’s English Private Landlord Survey found over half (53%) of landlords bought their first rental property with the intention of renting it out, but 32% did initially to live in themselves.


Read more: Rental properties make up 40% of housing market


Almost two thirds (63%) of those who had been a landlord for three years or less had used a mortgage to fund their first rental property compared to three-quarters of those who had been a landlord for longer.


About half (49%) of those who had been a landlord for three years or less had a buy-to-let mortgage to fund their current property or properties. This increased to 58% of those who had been letting for between four and 10 years, and 54% for those letting for 11 or more years.


Landlords, on average, report a gross rental income of £15,000 per year (before tax and other deductions). Three in five (61%) landlords had gross rental income of less than £20,000, while a further quarter (26%) reported an income of between £20,000 and £49,999.


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According to the survey, 13% of landlords reported a gross rental income of £50,000 or more.


The survey also found that three-quarters of landlords and agents were willing to offer longer tenancies of more than 12 months, and that eviction was rare. The vast majority of tenancies were ended by the tenant, with only 7% of landlords and agents asking the tenant to leave, of those, 7% evicted the tenant and 4% simply decided not to renew the lease.


The most common reasons for evicting, asking a tenant to leave or not renewing a tenancy were rent arrears (58%) or the tenant not caring for the property (45%).


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