THERE is a shortage of rental homes available in the UK, as many landlords leave the sector.

This dearth of rental properties is a nationwide issue, but is now particularly severe in London, where there has been a 20 per cent drop in the number of properties available to rent over the last year.

Over the same period, there has been a 12 per cent fall nationwide in the number of available rental homes, according to the research from property website

“Rents might be rising but, at the same time, underlying capital values are falling,” said director Doug Shephard.

Stamp duty changes came into force in 2016, which means anyone purchasing a buy-to-let property or second home must pay an extra three per cent in stamp duty.

Right to Rent legislation, rolled out nationally in 2016, now means that landlords must check the immigration status of their tenants or face unlimited fines or even a prison sentence.

“The current situation is particularly dire for tenants,” Shephard said.

“Government red tape and higher taxation in the lettings market has triggered forced sales by landlords.

“Moreover, this additional supply is now negatively impacting on capital values.

“Vendor landlords have done their maths and they know that if they continue to let the property, even with a rent hike, they will be losing money overall.”

He added: “Negative sentiment in this sector is certainly sufficient to turn confidence in the wider property market to the downside, thereby creating misery for all.”