Buy-to-let landlords are bending over backwards to support tenants struggling to pay their rent as a consequence of coronavirus, new research shows.
According to a survey of more than 4,500 private landlords by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 90% of landlords who had received a request for support from a tenant had responded positively.
This included offering tenants a rent reduction or deferral, a rent free period, early release from a tenancy or a refund on service charges included in rents for homes of multiple occupation.
Of all the landlords surveyed, 44% had received a request for help.
Some 54% of landlords have been affected in some way by the impact of the virus on their tenants having experienced some combination of rent payment problems or unanticipated periods when properties are empty.
The poll finds that 60% of those landlords who have declared rent arrears have experienced at least the equivalent of one month’s loss of income across their portfolio.
The figures are supported by a large number of case studies the NRLA has received from landlords seeking to support their tenants which has included free or substantially discounted accommodation for NHS workers, and landlords pro-actively assuring tenants that their tenancy is not at risk.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “This research proves that the vast majority of landlords are doing everything possible to support tenants through difficult times. To suggest otherwise is needless scaremongering and serves only to heighten anxieties for tenants when we need a spirit of co-operation.
“We are continuing to work with landlords and the Government to sustain tenancies through the immediate crisis and beyond.
“As Ministers consider their next steps regarding the ban on evictions, they should not make it more difficult to take action against tenants who may be committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse, or where they are wilfully withholding rent which they can afford to pay.
“We need landlords who are going through a difficult time to have the confidence to stay in the market. Otherwise we are only going to end up with a worsening housing crisis as more tenants chase fewer properties.”