According to a report from Simply Business, which surveyed 500 landlords across the UK, 51 per cent had lost money during the pandemic, which could impact their ability to pay their mortgage, make improvements to properties or grow their portfolios.
Nearly half lost between £2,000 and £10,000 in rental income, with 47 per cent losing between £2,001 and £5,000. Some 14 per cent lost more than £10,000.
A quarter turned to their savings to make up the loss, while eight per cent reduced their living costs. Just seven per cent took out a mortgage payment holiday.
The most commonly cited reason for the loss of money was tenants being unable to pay rent, with over a quarter of landlords pointing to this as the primary reason.
Just under 10 per cent landlords said they couldn’t find suitable new tenants, meaning they lost out on rental income.
Some 28 per cent of landlords surveyed said they put repayment plans in place to try and reduce rent arrears, but 44 per cent said tenants did not stick to the agreed arrangements.
Just under half of landlords said it would take more than six months to recoup losses, whilst six per cent believed it would take them over five years.
Overall, over 21 per cent said they planned to sell their property due to the pandemic.
Simply Business’ UK chief executive officer said Alan Thomas said it came as no surprise that a fifth of landlords were planning on selling their property due to the pandemic, but it could be devastating for the buy-to-let (BTL) sector.
He said: “Contributing over £16bn annually in pre-tax spending, an exodus of smaller landlords from the BTL market could have a devastating impact on the UK economy. But more than this, landlords are crucial to our communities, offering much-needed accommodation to over 4.4 million households.
“Despite their clear importance, many have felt an acute lack of support in the last 18 months. While the government rightfully rallied around tenants who faced job losses and reduced incomes, landlords believed they weren’t offered the same protection.”
A third of landlords surveyed said that the government should have better supported tenants, so they could pay rent, and nearly half thought that they should have been compensated for losses in rental income.
A fifth said all new market legislation should have been paused during the pandemic.
There were mixed opinions from those surveyed about the eviction ban, with 21 per cent saying it should not have been introduced at all whilst 19 per cent said it should have been shorter. A further 18 per cent complained it stopped them from evicting problematic tenants during the pandemic.
Along with the ban, the pandemic put a strain on landlords’ relationships with their tenants, as cited by 23 per cent of respondents. Some would have been grateful for government intervention, as 43 per cent said they wanted more support when dealing with difficult tenants.