Landlords who let property in the private rented sector have enjoyed a strong first quarter for the year, with void periods decreasing and yields maintaining the level seen during Q1 of 2011, according to a survey conducted by mortgage organisation Paragon Group.

The research found that one fifth of landlords are planning to purchase more buy-to-let properties in the second quarter of 2012, reflecting the increased sense of optimism surrounding the future of the rental market.

Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, said: "The findings of the Q1 trends survey are interesting and show that it has been a positive start to 2012."

And with 44 per cent believing tenant demand is growing, it would seem clear that confidence among landlords is increasing as a result of conditions seen in the first quarter of the year.

The decline in void periods from 2.9 weeks to 2.6 may also have served to reassure landlords of the likelihood that high levels of demand will be maintained over the next 12 months, and the removal of the stamp duty holiday may see increasing numbers look to the rental sector for housing as buying becomes more costly.

With investors seemingly set to benefit from current market conditions, insurance for landlords will be important to preserving their properties and ensuring their long term profitability.

And whether or not investors are planning on expanding their portfolios, all will have to be aware of changes to the tenant deposit protection scheme that come into force at the end of the week.

From April 6th, landlords will have a maximum of 30 days from the start of a tenancy to place the deposits they receive into a protection scheme.

While this gives them more time than existing legislation - the current period is 14 days - it is designed to be more strictly enforced and close loopholes that have allowed some to avoid punishment for failing to comply with tenancy deposit protection laws.