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Quarter of landlords hit by Covid rent losses

Written by: Emma Lunn
Almost one in four private landlords faced rental income losses as a result of the pandemic, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

The trade body said affected landlords are almost twice as likely to sell property as those who were not impacted by rent issues and warned that the pandemic has exacerbated the supply crisis facing tenants.

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

This included 11% who had negotiated rent reductions and temporary suspensions of rent payments with some of their tenants; 8% who had major issues with unpaid rents with at least one tenant, and 4% 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 more than half (54%) said they had lost up to a fifth of their income across their portfolio. One in 20 (5%) reported that they lost more than half of their rental income.

The figures show that 36% 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. The NRLA says this will further exacerbate the supply crisis which is hurting tenants.

The trade body argues that this is further proof of the need to help tenants get Covid-19 related rent debts paid off to keep landlords in the market and tenants in their homes.

Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, 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.”

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