It's certainly hard to remember the days before buy-to-let, but the phenomenon of private investors ploughing their money into property and letting homes to the nation's tenants hasn't been the norm forever.
In fact, buy-to-let mortgages have only been around for the last 20 years or so and the sector's growth in that time has been nothing short of monumental.
Between 1999 and 2015, some 1.7 million buy-to-let mortgage loans were advanced by lenders, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
In 2014, HMRC estimated that there were around 1.5 million landlords in the UK and according to think tank ResPublica, private renting now accounts for 22% of all UK households – compared to just 9% in 1985.
Thanks perhaps to this sustained growth, the buy-to-let market and the Private Rented Sector have become more regulated over the past few years.
In 2015, we saw the introduction of rules requiring every rental property to have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector as well as significant changes to the Section 21 evictions process.
Already this year we've witnessed the introduction of the Right to Rent scheme – which requires landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants – and there are a number of energy efficiency requirements to come in the next few years.
Private renting has also been at the centre of much controversy during the last year. In the Summer Budget, the Chancellor announced that mortgage interest tax relief for buy-to-let purchasers is to be restricted to the basic rate of income tax, while the traditional Wear and Tear allowance is being scrapped this April.
Also, November's Autumn Statement revealed plans to increase stamp duty by 3% on purchases of buy-to-let properties and second homes. These proposals look set to be implemented in April, too.
With changes and growth always seemingly afoot in this sector, it's important for landlords and interested parties to stay up to date with the latest developments and listen to expert advice.
Buy-to-let has clearly become an important part of our country's housing make-up and that's why a list of the market's top 25 influencers recently caught our eye.
Simple Landlords Insurance has produced a run-down of 2016's top 25 buy-to-let influencers. Made up of journalists, research experts, estate agents and politicians, the list features some very prominent property people.
A very famous face to make the list is ex-Liverpool footballer Robbie Fowler. The former goal-getter is known for his extensive rental property portfolio, which is rumoured to contain around 100 properties.
Fowler now even puts his name to an academy which offers advice and training to budding property investors.
Other notable entrants include renowned freelance property journalist Graham Norwood, editor of LandlordZONE Tom Entwhistle, letting consultant and industry author David Lawrenson and Yolande Barnes, a residential research expert working at Savills.
There's also an entry for one George Osborne – it can't be denied that he's influencing the buy-to-let market, even though it's in ways which have been criticised by many landlords and industry insiders.
If you're thinking about investing in buy-to-let property or expanding your existing portfolio, following these experts on Twitter or reading up on their latest blogs and articles could help you to stay one step ahead of the rest.