Most landlords who handed tenants rent reductions during the pandemic absorbed the losses from their savings, according to new research.
A National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) poll conducted by BVA/BDRC reveals that 61% of those landlords who offered at least one tenant a rent-free or deferred rent period in the second quarter of the year, had used their savings.
With recent YouGov figures suggesting that 61% of landlords rent out just one property, while 34% are retired with rental income representing all or part of their pension, the NRLA has warned that reliance on landlord savings is not sustainable in supporting tenants facing rent problems.
Government data shows that in April to May this year, 7% of tenants in England were behind with their rent – more than double the number who said they were in arrears in 2019/20, before lockdown measures started.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says sustaining tenancies at the expense of retirement savings cannot continue indefinitely.
He adds: “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.”
Last month, the government launched a new £65 million fund for councils to help vulnerable tenants pay off Covid-related rent debts.