More than one in five landlords have to wait longer than four months before signing up their first tenants, according to research by Nottingham Building Society.
The study shows that 21 of landlords said they had to wait four months or more after completing their buy-to-let mortgage before they had their first paying tenants.
The research, conducted by its HMLettings arm, found 53 per cent of landlords have paying tenants within a couple of months of buying their first buy-to-let.
However, but substantial numbers are facing delays which put pressure on their finances.
The lender says the average landlord has to pay out £2,000 on their first property before they find tenants, although 35 per cent manage to spend less than £1,000.