Almost a quarter (22%) of private landlords with properties in England surveyed have lost rental income as a result of COVID-19 according to the latest research by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Whilst 19% of those questioned had lost up to half of their usual rental income as a result of COVID-19, with 3% having lost more than half.
Amongst those landlords surveyed who said they have faced a loss of rent, the average loss was between £751 and £1,000. Applied across the sector as a whole, total rental income lost by private landlords has been between £328m and £437m according to the NRLA.
The research also reveals that 9% of landlords plan to leave the market, with 7% saying they will sell some of their rental properties over the next 12 months.
The research shows that 61% of landlords surveyed rent out just one residential property, and 34% of those said they are retired and rental income represents all or part of their pension.
The NRLA are calling for an “urgent financial package” from the Government to pay off COVID related rent arrears and sustain tenancies. The association are proposing that the Government follows the examples set in Wales and Scotland and develop interest-free, Government guaranteed hardship loans for tenants to cover arrears built since lockdown began in March.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Where COVID-19 has caused difficulties for tenants, the vast majority of landlords have reached agreements with them to avoid problems. That said, most landlords are not property tycoons and cannot be expected to go indefinitely without any or only part of the rent they are owed.
“To date there has been no direct financial support for the rental market, with individual landlords unable to access small business grants or bounce back loans. The furlough scheme is due to end, benefits do not cover average rents in any given area and the mortgage deferral scheme only builds up the amount landlords have to pay for the remainder of the term of their mortgage.
“The Government needs to step in and ensure tenants and landlords in England have the same level of support being provided in Scotland and Wales to pay off rent arrears and sustain tenancies.”