Call for rental revisions as COVID continues to bite

The private landlord sector is lurching towards a crisis as the COVID pandemic leaves many tenants unable to afford the rent on their homes according to new research.

The study by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) published today found more than half of private landlords have lost rental income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A third of landlords have also indicated that they were now more likely to either leave the market entirely or sell some of their properties.

It has prompted a call for UK government to take action to support the sector amid fears that the current system of the banning of repossessions due to non-payment is simply creating a tidal wave of future debt that tenants will simply not be able to afford to repay.

Interim findings from the NRLA’s survey for the fourth quarter of 2020 have found that 56% had lost rental income as a result of the pandemic, with 12% having lost more than 20% of that income.

Of all those who had lost rental income, 22% had lost more than £5,000 and 59% had lost more than £1,000, with 36% saying the losses are continuing to increase.

The findings show also that 26% of respondents had lost non-rental income because of the pandemic, with 12% having lost more than 20% of this.

Of those who had lost non-rental income, 41% have lost more than £1,000, with 20% having lost more than £5,000.

Responding to the interim results, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA said: “Although most landlords have done everything they can to help tenants affected as a result of the pandemic, we have now reached the end of what they are able to do.

“Simply continuing to ban repossessions just means that tenants struggling to pay their rent are accumulating more debt reducing the chances that they will be able to pay it off. This ultimately will put more renters at risk of losing their homes.

“Ministers need to develop a proper plan to sustain tenancies and help the rental market recover. This needs to include a financial package to enable tenants to pay off any arrears built as a direct result of the pandemic.”