Two-thirds of landlords say they expect business to suffer negatively from Covid-19 but demand grows

Terraced houses in London with estate agent boards

Two-thirds of private landlords surveyed in England and Wales believe their buy-to-let business will be negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly a fifth (18%) of the 2,000 landlords surveyed by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) think they face a significant adverse impact as a result of the pandemic and resulting lockdown.

A further 48% think the impact on their business will be slightly negative, the survey carried out in September found.

The NRLA survey found more than half (56%) are less confident about the future than they were even just three months ago and as a result are putting off making investment decisions until the outlook becomes more stable.

With more landlords holding off investing, the buy-to-let sector faces a shortage of rental homes as supply shrinks, the NRLA warned.

Of the landlords who responded to the survey, one in six (16%) said they plan to purchase one or more properties over the next year, but 30% say they intend to sell at least one property despite more than a third (35%) of reporting they had seen an increase in demand for private rented housing.

The NRLA repeated their calls for tenants in England to be supported by government-backed  interest-free hardship loans to cover rental arrears with payments made directly to landlords.

The NRLA’s survey found that 78% of landlords supported such a scheme which are already in place in Wales and Scotland.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA said: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords have been working constructively with their tenants where they have struggled due to the pandemic, it is not sustainable to expect them or tenants to continue having rent arrears building indefinitely.

“This is highlighted in the lower levels of confidence among landlords and the impact it is having on their businesses.”

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18th October 2020