Landlords who helped tenants out during the pandemic by reducing rent prices had to use their own savings, new research shows.
The research conducted by BVA/BDRC for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) reveals that 61% of landlords who had offered at least one tenant a rent-free or deferred rent period during the second quarter of the year absorbed the losses from their savings.
The NRLA points out that recent YouGov figures suggest 61% of landlords rent out just one property, and 34% are retired with rental income representing all or part of their pension. It warns that reliance on landlords’ savings is not sustainable in supporting tenants facing rent problems.
According to government data, in April-May this year, 7% of tenants in England (almost 800,000) were behind with their rent. This was more than double the number who said they were in arrears in 2019/20 before lockdown measures started.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, has responded to these findings: “These figures show the extent to which landlords have worked to sustain tenancies as a result of the pandemic, many at the expense of their retirement savings. But this cannot continue indefinitely.
“After months of calling on the Government to help tenants who through no fault of theirs got behind with their rent, we have welcomed the funding now made available to help those affected to pay off COVID rent debts.
“It is now vital that councils ensure tenants who need it can access the funding swiftly. Without this, landlords will be left between a rock and a hard place either expected to sustain rent arrears they cannot afford or to repossess their properties, neither of which we want to see.”