Research has revealed that the majority of private landlords have been supportive of tenants experiencing difficulties due to coronavirus.
The National Residential Landlords Association surveyed over 4,500 landlords. Their research revealed that 90% of landlords responded in a positive way to tenants asking for support. Most have been prepared to take a temporary hit to rental income in order to support those struggling.
HOW LANDLORDS HAVE BEEN IMPACTED
Of all the landlords surveyed, over half had been impacted by the effect of coronavirus on their tenants.
- 54% experienced some combination of rent payment problems or unexpected periods of vacant properties.
- 44% said they’d received a request for help.
- 60% of landlords who declared rent arrears experienced at least the equivalent of one month’s loss of income across their portfolio.
METHODS OF SUPPORT FOR TENANTS
The ways in which landlords have supported tenants has been varied. Some landlords have specified a rent-free period while others have given a rent reduction or deferral.
In some cases, landlords have given their tenants an early release from their contracted agreement. For those living in houses of multiple occupation, there has been a refund on service charges. Presumably for services that it has not been possible to deliver.
Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, Ben Beadle, commented: “This research proves that the vast majority of landlords are doing everything possible to support tenants through difficult times. To suggest otherwise is needless scaremongering and serves only to heighten anxieties for tenants when we need a spirit of co-operation. We are continuing to work with landlords and the Government to sustain tenancies through the immediate crisis and beyond.
But he added, “As Ministers consider their next steps regarding the ban on evictions, they should not make it more difficult to take action against tenants who may be committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse, or where they are wilfully withholding rent which they can afford to pay. We need landlords who are going through a difficult time to have the confidence to stay in the market. Otherwise we are only going to end up with a worsening housing crisis as more tenants chase fewer properties.”
YOUNG RENTERS MAY STILL NEED SUPPORT
As restrictions are eased, there should be less pressure on both landlords and tenants. However, the exception to this could be amongst younger renters.
Flatfair, a payment technology firm, and Rowan Asset Management, a real estate investor, carried out research that revealed nearly one in two renters in the UK are aged between 16 to 34.
It showed a high proportion of young people are living in rented accommodation and working in high-risk job sectors. Those most at risk are the 2.8 million retail workers aged between 16 to 34. Young restaurant workers are also under threat with six in ten of these in the same age bracket.
Residential landlords may be asked to offer further support for younger tenants experiencing financial distress, particularly those in the retail and catering sectors and the gig economy.
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