ALMOST half of landlords own all their property outright, with no mortgage debt at all. That’s according to a survey of private landlords by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The survey aimed to get an insight into the typical UK landlord and to understand which of them will be most affected by tax changes. It found that around 62 per cent of them own only a single rented property, but that buy-to-let landlords are more likely to own a multi-property portfolio.

The majority of landlords, 61 per cent, are aged 55 or over. However buy to let landlords are typically younger. The typical landlord owns a property close to their own home and is just as likely to manage the property themselves as use a managing agent.

Most of them were motivated to become a landlord as a contribution to their pension income and as an investment for capital growth and income.

Two thirds of landlords gain less than 25 per cent of their household income from rent. Around one in 20 said they make a full time living from being a landlord.

In terms of tax changes that will affect buy to let landlords, the survey found that the quarter of landlords with the largest property portfolios and highest incomes will be hardest hit. This has resulted in many saying they plan to reduce rather than increase their property portfolios in 2017. Among buy to let landlords planning to reduce their property holdings, 36 per cent cited tax changes as the reason.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “While the overall findings are encouraging and offer a reassuring picture of relative stability, there is a certain irony in the researchers’ conclusions that the landlords who will be most affected by the government’s tax changes are those at the most professional end of the sector – those with large, leveraged portfolios.

“These landlords will be particularly hard hit by the changes in the treatment of mortgage interest and may choose to divest or moderate their property holdings. Given the government’s longstanding interest in professionalising the sector, policymakers will need to be closely attuned to the risk of unintended consequences and, indeed, own goals.”

The majority of landlords surveyed said they expect their net income to stay the same or increase slightly over the next five years. However 16 per cent of buy-to-let landlords said they expected their income to fall.