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PRS and BTL dissertation discussion group - Idea


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Hello everyone,

I am a student on an MSc property related course at Sheffield Hallam University - currently undertaking a dissertation on the Private Rented Sector and more specifically, the Residential Buy-to-let market.

A bit of background - I am potentially looking to make an investment in the Private Rented Sector in the not too distant future and thought that this was a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the market and some opinions of those with experience in the sector.

My idea is to collect data through setting up an online forum on the residential landlord site at the same time as interviewing around half a dozen local landlords.

Over the next few weeks I will post a series of questions which create a discussion amongst site members, including myself.

Hopefully the result will be a collection of purely qualitative data which would provide a fantastic opportunity to develop my dissertation.

- Motivations for entering the PRS?
- Preferred types of property to add to your portfolio?
- Individuals perception of the property market at the moment, and future predictions?
- Issues surrounding standard of maintenance etc.
- Preferred types of tenants,
- How students affect the B-T-L market

and so forth...

Of course, any comments made on the thread will be kept anonymous and used for research purposes only. This will be made clear at the start of the thread. When reporting, to distinguish I will classify contributors as Participant One, Participant Two etc.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could reply with your thoughts on the idea and whether or not you may like to be involved? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

If there are any questions or topics other users wish to include in this thread relating to the subject I would more than welcome them and value each response given. The more the merrier!

I look forward to hearing from you all,

Many thanks


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My thoughts as follows. I don't have a degree, didn't attend uni and know nothing about dissertations but I have been asked to participate many times in the past.

My overriding impression is one of shock horror as without fail these sorts of studies never ever take statistics into account. Students never interview a sufficient sample size to arrive at any meaningful results. Results never show any statistical significance and nearly always achieve a total fail in terms of result versus objective.

The issue is one of time & economics. Landlords span a large age range, have different levels of investment, different geographical location, demographics, property types, target tenants, leasehold vs freehold etc so any study is bound to arrive at an inconclusive & or inaccurate conclusion.

The current rental market is totally different to that of 25 years ago. The massive cost of housing is due to successive governments failing to build enough and below inflation pay rises.

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Thanks for your reply Richlist, it's much appreciated.

I do recognise your point and already this exercise has been valuable.

My limited remit does not allow for a comprehensive analysis of the market from every statistical viewpoint - perhaps some 'filters' could be applied to allow discussion on a certain scenario?

E.g. A given location, desired tenure, size of current portfolio, targetted tenant types, amount of available funds etc?

With the outcome of what the most viable investment strategy is in terms of a given end goal.

E.g. The best option to achieve highest market rents for the short term. Or the best option to achieve a high capital gain in the long term.

This way the discussion could still include a large number of factors (options for types of tenants - pro's/con's in peoples opinions, potential introductions of rent controls, Regulatory changes, as with your other discussion with Melboy about the ending of Tax Relief, along with many others. and still be relatively realistic in terms of what is expected at the outcome. It would still result in highly qualitative data, whilst providing a basis upon which an accurate conclusion could be drawn given the set circumstances.

Any opinions on this exercise would be greatly appreciated!

Again, thanks for your time.


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You only have to look at how the'pollsters' asking the wrong questions of the wrong people at the wrong time arrived at the wrong conclusion for the outcome of the recent General Election to see how flawed your exercise might be.

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I tend to agree with RL on this one. My own use and study of this vast forum over several years has lead me to conclude that landlords are widely different characters and with different financial motives and portfolio size. Also you should note that there are very few contributors.

Diss_Jak: I suggest that limit your exercise to posting simple practical questions in the way we and others do, and see what feedback you get. And don't complicate it by setting up an anonymous system of replies, as your suggest.

Despite cynicism for its outcomes, I wish you well with your course and hope you will learn much!

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