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Agents Count the Cost of Coronavirus Crisis

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Longer void rental periods, much fewer rent increases, and many more rent reductions means the coronavirus crisis has left landlords seriously out of pocket,  ARLA’s Propertymark’s May private rented sector report has concluded.

Its online survey of letting agents confirmed that landlords have generally taken a sympathetic and understanding line when helping tenants to cope with the crisis.

One in 40 tenants have been allowed a reduction in rent in May. Meanwhile only one in seven landlords increased the rent charged for their properties in May – well down on the norm for this time of year. In May 2019, for example, a little under half of landlords increased their rents.

Many landlords, prevented from taking on new tenants, were also left with empty properties. The average time properties were left empty between tenancies increased to five weeks in May, according to the survey. This is the longest time properties have remained void between tenancies since records began, said ARLA Propertymark.

‘Our latest figures show that landlords and agents have been taking the brunt of the pandemic’, said  ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, David Cox. ‘They are aware of the financial difficulties facing tenants and have shown empathy with many landlords not increasing rents where they otherwise might have needed to. As we continue to move forward, it’s important that everyone aims to keep the rent flowing in order to sustain the market and help boost the economy following several months of uncertainty’.