A law firm specialising in landlord law claims landlords are losing £9.9bn to rent arrears and property damage each year.
Access Legal’s latest Landlord Report says tenants do £4.5bn damage to rental properties each year.
The news follows a renewed attack on the private rented sector by Shelter. The housing charity claimed that 125,000 tenants have suffered abusive behaviour from landlords in the past year. Shelter reported last week that some tenants have had belongings burned while others have had utility services cut off in efforts to intimidate them.
Access Legal said there was another side to the story. It calculated that £9.9bn is spent by landlords covering damage, repairs and rent arrears each year. This equates to £6,600 for every landlord in the UK.
Access Legal claimed almost half (46%) of tenants in rent arrears fail to pay up even after court proceedings.
The research found that a third of landlords (33%) feel the law sides with tenants. Three-quarters of buy-to-let investors also stated that they don’t feel money is safe with letting agents, and half (43%) of landlords have dropped their letting agents to save money and avoid safety issues.
Eamonn Hogan, solicitor at Access Legal, said: “We work with many landlords covering tenant and landlord disputes. The extortionate cost of being a landlord seems to be a figure that keeps growing. Many landlords are subject to damaged properties and rent arrears. The law doesn’t always side with tenants, but it’s a hard process for landlords to go through and a tricky legal system.”
The five most common causes of damage to a property are:
- Broken appliances (41%)
- Damaged decorating (40%)
- Damaged carpets (37%)
- Lack of cleanliness (33.18%)
- Cigarette burns (22%)
The study found that almost half (40%) of landlords have been subject to a tenant not paying rent and one in five (20%) landlords have been subject to vandalism.