New figures show that nearly half of all private landlords have reduced their tenants’ monthly rent payments during the pandemic.
Shawbrook Bank research found that 46% had cut tenants’ rent while 28% of them had offered a full rent payment holiday.
Rental payment holidays lasted for an average of three months and cost landlords £7,500, compared to rent reductions which lasted four months and cost an average of £6,500.
These figures are much higher than data released by the housing ministry last year which found that since the start of the pandemic, 7% of private renters had fallen into arrears (for June/July 2020).
Shawbrook Bank polled 1,000 landlords, including 150 portfolio landlords, and 1,000 private tenants on their property portfolio and rental situation.
More than a third of landlords who gave rent reductions said that they had proactively offered it to their tenant, while a further 45% said it was a mutual decision.
Portfolio landlords with four or more properties were more likely to have agreed a rent reduction with their tenants compared to single property landlords; 17% of portfolio landlords admitted to missing out on income compared to 12% of single property landlords.
The majority (59%) of landlords who gave rent reductions did this for more than one of their properties.
John Eastgate (pictured), MD of property finance at Shawbrook Bank, says landlords have acted pragmatically, recognising the additional strain their tenants were under.
In many cases landlords were initiating the conversation around cutting rents.
He adds: “This period has clearly underlined the critically important role that the private rental sector is playing, and will continue to play, in the UK housing market.
“Responsible landlords have shown their reliability during a crisis, understanding the changing needs of their tenants and acting quickly.”