Landlords need help to survive Covid-19

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Almost a quarter of private landlords with properties in England have lost rental income as a result of Covid-19, a new survey suggests.

The research, conducted for the National Residential Landlords Association, found that 19 per cent of those questioned had lost up to half of their usual rental income as a result of Coronavirus Crisis, a further three per cent had lost more than half.  

NRLA said its analysis suggested the average lost by landlords unable to claim their full rent was between £751 and £1,000. Applied across the sector as a whole, this equates to total lost rental income of between £328m and £437m.

The same survey, undertaken by YouGov, found that 9 per cent of landlords said they planned to give up renting, with 7 per cent saying they would sell some of their rental properties over the next 12 months.

‘With the polling showing that 61 per cent of those landlords surveyed renting out just one residential property, and 34 per cent of those saying they are retired and reliant on rental income, it is unsustainable to expect landlords and tenants to be building up rent arrears indefinitely’, said NRLA.

It is calling for urgent action by way of a financial support package to pay off Coronavirus-related rent arrears and sustain tenancies.

‘The NRLA proposes that the UK Government follows the examples set in Wales and Scotland and develops interest free, government-guaranteed hardship loans for tenants to cover arrears built since lockdown started in March’, it said.

Most landlords are not property tycoons and cannot be expected to go indefinitely without any or only part of the rent they are owed, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.

‘To date there has been no direct financial support for the rental market, with individual landlords unable to access small business grants or bounce back loans. The furlough scheme is due to end, benefits do not cover average rents in any given area and the mortgage deferral scheme only builds up the amount landlords have to pay for the remainder of the term of their mortgage.

‘The Government needs to step in and ensure tenants and landlords in England have the same level of support being provided in Scotland and Wales to pay off rent arrears and sustain tenancies’.

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