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Charlie Davidson, a residential property expert with London law firm Bishop & Sewell, has said that landlords should be wary of the myth that earning a passive income from property is easy.

Buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested there were around 2.74 million landlords in the UK, although the sector has reduced in recent years as landlords have faced higher mortgage costs and increased obligations from legislative reforms.

According to Davidson, while buy-to-let has been a popular investment vehicle for many years, it is far from a quick route to riches.

He said: “Being a landlord requires effort, and the property portfolio must be actively managed.

“Issues like rent arrears, damage to the property or the process of evicting tenants can be stressful, costly, and challenging.

“Unlike some other assets, the property will require maintenance, repairs and refurbishment that will eat into the landlord’s yield, while the large initial upfront investment to buy the property means buy-to-let should be viewed as a longer-term investment. 

“Prospective landlords should avoid being tempted by social media chatter promising an easy fortune, or even more fantastical tax schemes.

“There have been several highly dubious and utterly artificial schemes marketed to landlords as a way of mitigating (or even removing) their tax burden. If something sounds too good to be true, it normally is.”   

He concluded: “Buy-to-let is not a walk in the park and successful landlords must be prepared to put in time and effort to earn a profit while also discharging their legal responsibilities to their tenants and ensuring the property is suitably maintained.” 

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