Landlord’s support of their tenants was strong during 2017, particularly of those in financial difficulties.
New research from Simple Landlords Insurance found that amidst the current climate of pressures including reduced tax relief, stricter lending requirements, revised regulations for houses of multiple occupancy, and the implementation of Universal Credit, the majority of landlords are supportive of their tenants. 43 per cent confirmed that they have or would support vulnerable tenants, including those receiving housing allowance, if they failed to report damage to their property. A mere 27 per cent said they would serve notice.
Contrary to general reporting, just 16 per cent said that Universal Credit would impact their investment strategy, confirming that many would continue to work with tenants on benefits. Additionally, most landlords are prepared to cooperate with Universal Credit tenants who have fallen into arrears. Figures from the RLA have indicated that nearly two thirds of landlords have successfully put in place Alternative Payment Plans to combat such situations.
Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, Alex Huntley, said: ‘There is no doubt that Universal Credit is putting both tenants and landlords under pressure. It’s refreshing to how many landlords actively want to support tenants when they get into difficulties, and how many want to help plug the social housing gap so many local authorities face. We hear a lot about rouge landlords, but this research – coming just before Christmas – presents a rather more humanitarian view. Landlords are people. The problem is, that they are not charities. They are people who are running businesses – and they can’t run at a loss. Legislation like Universal Credit is making it harder and harder to view tenants on benefits as a valid strategy – and despite these landlords’ good intentions, I worry where that’s going to leave some of the UKs most vulnerable tenants in 2018.’
Further to this, over 70 per cent of landlords support local authority licensing schemes, which protect the rights of tenants. Many are also particularly focused on fire safety checks following the Grenfell tragedy, with 40 per cent checking fire alarms and a quarter installing carbon monoxide alarms.
Finally, one in four landlords will buy their tenants a Christmas present this year! Alex continued: ‘It’s time to ditch the image of the heartless landlord. Most landlords DO care about their tenants. In most situations, it actually makes good business sense.’