The wage subsidy outlined in the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan will help renters, but more is needed according to Chris Norris, policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Norris said: “We welcome the Government’s measures to subsidise wages. We warned that the end of the furlough scheme ran the risk of many households facing further difficulties in paying their rents. Today’s announcement is an important first step to prevent this.
“That said our research still shows that private landlords across England have faced rental loses of up to £437 million as a result of COVID-19.
“It is vital that the Government now follows the example set in Wales and Scotland and develops interest free, government guaranteed hardship loans to help tenants pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic. We cannot expect them, or landlords, the vast majority of whom are individuals without the means to absorb significant losses, to continue to struggle without support.”
Norris’ comments follow a YouGov online survey of over 1,000 residential landlords in early September where those surveyed were asked how much of their usual rental income they have lost to date from their rental properties as a result of COVID-19.
In total, 232 landlords reportedly said that they had lost rental income as a result. They were asked how much the average arrears were on those properties that had them. Taking out those who said “don’t know” or “prefer not to say” the total number of respondents was 172. 18.60% of this group claimed they had lost up to £250, whilst 5.20% said they lost over £5,000. 61% of respondents said that they rented out one property, whilst 34% said they were retired and that rental income represented all or part of their pension.