Buy-to-let  

Half of landlords lose rental income during pandemic

Half of landlords lose rental income during pandemic
 Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Landlords are now more likely to leave the market or sell parts of their portfolio, according to research that found more than half have lost rental income due to Covid.

Research from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found a third of landlords indicated they were now more likely to either leave the market entirely or sell some of their properties.

The Q4 2020 survey of more than 600 landlords found that over half (56 per cent) had lost rental income due to the pandemic, with 12 per cent having lost more than a fifth of that income.

Of those who had lost rental income, 22 per cent lost more than £5,000 and 59 per cent more than £1,000. A third (36 per cent) said losses were continuing to increase.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, 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.”

Under government guidance, no eviction notices are to be served in any tier until January 11 at the earliest and, given the 14 day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until January 25 at the earliest, except for “most serious” circumstances.

This was after the government announced a complete ban on evictions in March to protect renters affected by the pandemic, with protection for landlords by way of a mortgage payment holiday, and subsequent extensions to the ban on evictions in June and August.

A separate survey of over 2,000 private renters between November and December for the NRLA suggested that 7 per cent had built arrears due to Covid.

Additionally, data from UK Finance shows there were 5,400 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in Q3 2020, an increase of 19 per cent year-on-year.

While some landlords indicated they were now more likely to leave the market or sell part of their portfolio, data from estate agent and property services company Hamptons showed landlords were in a 'race' to complete their purchases before the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31.

According to its monthly lettings index for November, landlords made up 15 per cent of buyers in Great Britain, the highest figure since December 2016, with a record 51 per cent of these purchases made in cash.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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