Industry News Rhianna Abrey 26/01/2022

Quarter of landlords hit by rent losses because of Covid

Almost one in four private landlords faced rental income losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With those landlords affected almost twice as likely to sell property as those who were not, the National Residential Landlords Association is warning that the pandemic has exacerbated a supply crisis now facing tenants.

A new poll by YouGov for the NRLA has found that, between March 2020 and September 2021, 23 per cent of private landlords lost rent due to the impact of Covid.

This included 11 per cent who had negotiated rent reductions and temporary suspensions of rent payments with some of their tenants; eight per cent who had major issues with unpaid rents with at least one tenant and four per cent who had experienced an increase in empty properties during this time.

Amongst those who said they had lost rental income as a result of the pandemic over a half (54 per cent) said they had lost up to a fifth of their income across their portfolio.  Five per cent reported that they have lost more than half of their rental income.

The figures show that 36 per cent of the landlords who lost rental income as a result of the pandemic said they planned to either exit the market completely or sell a portion of their portfolio, further exacerbating the supply crisis which many analysts agree is hurting tenants.

The NRLA argues that this is further proof of the need to help tenants get COVID related rent debts paid off to keep landlords in the market and tenants in their homes.

With the Government having last year made funding available for councils in England to help tenants pay off Covid related rent arrears, local authorities need to ensure money reaches the pockets of affected tenants as swiftly as possible.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“Today’s figures show the extent to which landlords have been hit by the pandemic as we have been warning over the last two years. With confirmation that those most affected are more likely to leave the market, it is vital that the rent debt crisis does not worsen the rental housing supply crisis we now face.

“As a matter of urgency, councils need to make use of the money they now have to help tenants get Covid rent debts cleared. Without this, renters face a bleak future of fewer properties to rent and, ultimately, higher rents.”