BTL landlords could soon be left ‘between a rock and a hard place’

A number of private landlords were forced to use their personal savings in order to help tenants out during the pandemic, new research shows.

The study, conducted by BVA/BDRC for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), shows that 61% of those landlords who, in the second quarter of the year, had offered at least one tenant a rent free or deferred rent period absorbed the losses from their savings.

With recent YouGov figures suggesting that 61% of landlords rent out just one property, and 34% are retired with rental income representing all or part of their pension, the NRLA is warning that reliance on landlord savings is not sustainable in supporting tenants facing rent problems.

Government data shows that in April-May this year, seven per cent of tenants in England, almost 800,000, were behind with their rent. This was more than double the number who said they were in arrears in 2019/20, before lockdown measures started.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “These figures show the extent to which landlords have worked to sustain tenancies as a result of the pandemic, many at the expense of their retirement savings. But this cannot continue indefinitely.

“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.”

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