Three quarters of landlords warn that tenants will not be in a financial position to pay their rent if the coronavirus lockdown continues.
A survey of 537 landlords carried out by eviction specialist Landlord Action found that since the lockdown was introduced a month ago some 74% of respondents have been contacted by tenants saying they will struggle to pay their rent.
This comes as a number of renters' unions call on the government to suspend future evictions based on rent arrears for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.
But Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, as landlords also have bills to pay and families to feed.
He said: “This is a nightmare scenario for everyone - landlords and tenants alike. It is really important that landlords do what they can to sustain the tenancy if possible, bearing in mind the court system is suspended and if a tenant vacates, there is a worry the property could be empty for a while.
“It is about working together in a practical way, understanding each other’s limits and supporting one another as best we can to get through this. I know of landlords who are in a privileged enough position to hold their tenants’ rent and have done so.
“However, the vast majority of private landlords own one or two properties, many with mortgages, and they too will be facing the same challenges of job losses.”
Landlord Action's research also revealed that 36% of landlords would struggle to pay their mortgage if their tenant did not pay rent this month.
In addition, seven in 10 landlords said they would hold off serving an eviction notice if their tenant falls into arrears within the next three months.
Shamplina added: “We’ve been inundated with phone calls from landlords concerned about rent payments and our advice is this: Speak to your tenants. Understand how they are financially impacted; explain how you will be financially impacted.
“Where possible try and come to an arrangement with them, understand what government support they are asking for. Having something to help cover the mortgage is better than nothing.”
Although tenants cannot currently be evicted from their property, landlords are still permitted to serve them notice to leave.
Shamplina continued: “Good tenants do not become bad tenants overnight. These are extraordinary circumstances, and everyone is impacted in some way.
“Those landlords who work with their tenants throughout this difficult time will strengthen their relationship and be far more likely to maintain the tenancy in the long-term.”