Following the publication of her latest report, commissioned by the TDS Charitable Foundation, property expert Kate Faulkner outlines what lessons landlords should take from it.

The TDS Charitable Foundation has commissioned me to research and write a series of reports looking into various aspects of the private rented sector (PRS).

In my latest report, the eighth one I’ve produced, I looked at the returns buy-to-let landlords can expect, and what can affect them.

The 35-page report advises landlords not to rely on natural property price growth, pointing to a slowdown in capital growth rates and rents rising behind inflation in many areas.

We found that many landlords are unaware of how well their investment is performing, both in terms of rental yields and projected return on capital investment. More than two thirds (68.2%) of landlords have made a conscious decision to invest in property over other financial assets and should, in theory, have an idea of how much they should expect to get back, yet one third of landlords admit to not knowing their net yield.

It’s hard to remember a time when making a profit as a buy-to-let landlord has been so tough. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, landlords could safely rely on the value of their property increasing dramatically, so making an income from rent was less important than the profit from selling property on.

While house prices are still rising in most areas, the rate has slowed and this is no longer a completely safe bet for any would-be investor. Stagnating household incomes is also limiting rental increases, leading many landlords to fall into financial difficulty over the lifespan of a rental investment.

Landlords need to carefully plan and manage their rental properties to get the most out of their investment. Often, people forget about the tax implications rental income can have on their overall budget, sometimes pushing the landlord into new income tax brackets or losing tax relief, leaving them out of pocket.

‘Amateur’ or part-time landlords often don’t allow for putting money aside for maintenance in their investment plans, but they really should. Letting a property that hasn’t been maintained or kept up to scratch legally, could land the owner with fines up to £30,000.

The financial implications and regulatory hoops that landlords have to jump through have made property investing much more complicated in the years since the crash and, as a result, landlords have had to become more professional in their approach.

It is no longer enough to simply buy a property and wait for its value to increase. Landlords have to work for it, and this is driving some away from investing. With rising costs, increasingly tight regulation and rents rising below inflation in many places, countless landlords could well leave the sector in the coming years.

An exodus of small portfolio landlords would be detrimental, especially for tenants, as it could lead to a drop in the supply of properties for rent.

It’s not all bad news, though. Landlords can and do still turn a profit, but only by taking a planned, professional approach to property investment. Would-be landlords should undertake serious and detailed research about any potential investment, calculate the financial implications, plan for desired returns, and formulate an exit strategy.

We’re likely to see further professionalisation of the industry over the coming years, particularly if purse-strings have to be tightened for small-scale or accidental landlords.

To read the full report, please visit:

While the TDS Charitable Foundation funds the reports, Kate retains editorial control and the opinions expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) or the TDS Charitable Foundation.

About the Author

Kate Faulkner headshot

Kate Faulkner is a recognised property industry expert and runs, a consumer advice website providing insight and expertise. She also runs consultancy Designs on Property Ltd. which provides support to companies and organisations that want to communicate better to the public or to introduce new products and services to the property sector.

About TDS Charitable Foundation

The TDS Charitable Foundation is a charitable incorporated organisation and is registered as a CIO with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

The TDS Charitable Foundation works to advance education about housing rights and obligations in general, and in particular about: 

  • Best practice in the management of private rented housing
  • Legal rights and obligations of those involved in the provision or management of private rented housing
  • Using alternative dispute resolution for more efficient and effective resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants.

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

ARLA Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact ARLA | Propertymark at By being a member of ARLA | Propertymark, you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.

RLA: If you are a landlord and would like to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you or your responsibilities, you can contact the RLA at and quote reference: dg715 to receive 25% off your first year’s membership.

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