More home owners are being forced to move out and let their property to tenants.
Britain is fast becoming a nation of "accidental landlords" as home owners let out properties they cannot sell. However, lenders are toughening up on the "let-to-buy" market, which could leave unwary landlords vulnerable.
Figures from the National Landlords Association (NLA) show that the number of its members who had been forced into letting because they could not sell a property had risen from 5pc to 7pc by the third quarter of last year. This figure is expected to have risen since, as people struggle to sell and rents rise.
The NLA statistics are supported by figures from the Co-operative Bank last week, which showed that a fifth of its recent buy-to-let business was from accidental landlords.
Lee Gladwell of Platform, the Co-op's intermediary lender, said: "Uncertainty around the economy, employment and house prices is continuing to dampen demand for house purchases. Our experience shows that some of those who want to move and are unable to sell are choosing to become landlords and rent out their existing property, at least until the market improves."
These accidental landlords are being helped by record rent levels in many parts of the country. However, David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA, said a large number of these people "do not even accept that they are landlords", which can lead to problems with tenants, mortgage companies and insurance claims. "They don't realise that letting out a property is strewn with pitfalls and they do need to get it right," he said. "People need to look into the implications more carefully."