The UK is facing a private rented housing crisis unless the government takes rapid action to stop landlords selling up, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

A quarter of private landlords are looking to sell at least one property over the next 12 months, according to fresh research published yesterday.

Of almost 2,500 landlords who responded to a survey by the RLA, just over 25% said that they were planning to sell at least one property over the next year, the highest proportion since the RLA started asking this question regularly in 2016.

The survey also reveals that 23% of landlords report an increase in the demand for rental property over the previous three months, with 57% reporting it to be stable.

More than a third of landlords reported low levels of confidence in the PRS over the next 12 months.

The fact that so many private landlords are thinking about decreasing the number of properties they rent out is a major concern, given the existing supply-demand imbalance in the market, which will inevitably lead to rents increasing in the near term.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that the imbalance between supply and demand in the rental market is expected to see rents increase by an average of 15% over the next five years.

The RLA is now urging the government to address the growing crisis by ensuring that new regulations governing how landlords can regain possession of their properties in legitimate circumstances are fair and effective both for landlords and the tenants.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “All the talk of longer tenancies will mean nothing if the homes to rent on not there in the first place.

“The government’s tax increases on the sector are already making it difficult for tenants to find a place to live, with many landlords not renewing tenancies. If rushed and not thought through, planned changes to the way landlords can repossess properties risk making the situation even worse.

“Action is needed to stimulate supply with pro-growth taxation and a process for repossessing homes that is fair to all.”