Personal circumstances rather then tax changes are encouraging landlords to leave the market, a new report from campaigning charity Shelter reveals.

Research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research earlier this week produced data claiming 10 per cent of landlords quit the buy-to-let sector each year.

It suggests that recent legislation had “only limited influence” on landlords’ decisions to sell, and instead issues such as their age or enthusiasm for being a landlord played a much more important factor.

A Shelter spokesperson said: “We know from previous research that a large proportion of private landlords are older people and – in any given year – may want to retire from being a landlord.

"Thirty-five per cent of current landlords are over the age of 65. We also know that a quarter of landlords only got into the business accidentally and may not be in it for the long-term."

It claims that 13 per cent of landlords only started letting their property because they wanted to sell but couldn’t, and that many of this group may sell imminently.

Another 12 per cent of landlords say they started because they inherited the property and may have no interest in doing it for the long-term.

Shelter says that future policy changes such as the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief, and possible interest rate rises, would probably not significantly change landlords’ minds about staying or leaving the sector.

The blog, on the Shelter website, says that the landlords it interviewed 'showed a strong commitment to the private rented sector and are not likely to leave in a hurry'.

It claims that falling house prices, or reduced profits, are 'unlikely to make many sell up', and that landlords appear, overall, to 'respond to changes in the economic or fiscal environment by changing the rate at which they purchase new properties, rather than sell existing stock.'