The Generation Rent pressure group is wrong to claim that the majority of landlords are failing to support tenants needing help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s the view of the National Residential Landlords Association which says its latest and yet-to-be-published survey of over 4,500 landlords has found that 90 per cent of landlords who had received a request for support from a tenant responded positively.
The help given was in the form of a rent reduction or deferral, a rent free period, early release from a tenancy or a refund on service charges included in rents for homes of multiple occupation.
Of the landlords surveyed, 44 per cent had been asked for help by at least one tenant.
“Whilst many tenants have been able to continue paying their rents in full and on time, in accordance with government advice, we recognise the strain that many others are under at this difficult time. That is why it is good news that, as our research shows, nearly all the landlords approached for help by their tenants are responding positively” explains Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive.
“With no direct support aside from a mortgage deferment, landlords are playing their part to avoid unnecessary anxiety for tenants and our figures show that the vast majority of tenants and landlords have a good relationship with each other” he adds.
This survey flatly contradicts claims by Generation Rent, which say landlords have been overwhelmingly unsympathetic to tenants during the Coronavirus crisis.
It claims eight out of nine landlords with tenants who have asked for reduced rent are “refusing” to agree to their requests.
The group says: “Whereas seven per cent of struggling renters who asked their landlord for a lower rent secured one, 56 per cent were asked to pay in full."
The other 37 per cent have either offered deferred payment terms or have not responded.
“As a result millions of renters will get into rent arrears, with limited protection from eviction once restrictions are lifted, and little prospect of clearing their debts” says the campaign, which has given a shopping list of its demands to government.
- the suspension of Section 21 evictions;
- the removal of rent arrears built up during the pandemic as a ground for eviction;
- the removal of caps on benefits and increasing local housing allowance to cover median rent;
- mortgage lenders to require buy-to-let customers with a mortgage holiday to pass it on to their tenants;
- a freeze on rent increases for 12 months.
“Most tenants who have approached their landlord for help are getting nothing - except more dread that they’ll be evicted. Relying on landlords' compassion isn't working” claims Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent.
“If the government lifts restrictions without providing new protections, millions of renters will face losing their home and we will compound a public health crisis with a homelessness crisis. The government and landlords must realise that renters on reduced incomes will have no hope of paying off arrears at current levels of rent.”