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Landlords ‘highly vulnerable’ to rent arrears

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Most landlords are ‘highly vulnerable’ when their tenants build up rent arrears, the Government has conceded.

‘We know that 45 per cent of landlords have just one rental property and 38 per cent have between two to four properties. For most landlords, income from rent makes up 42 per cent of their total gross income’, said Lord Greenhalgh.

Referring to rent arrears, the housing minister said ‘the Government has to balance supporting tenants with landlords’ ability to exercise their right to justice where needed. As national restrictions continue to ease, it is appropriate that the emergency measures start to lift but we are doing so gradually’.

In answer to another question from Lord Carrington, Treasury Minister Lord Agnew revealed that in 2019/20, the vast majority of landlords in England declaring income via Self-Assessment were taxed only at the basic rate.

Of 2.2m tax-paying landlords, only 666,000 (30 per cent) had sufficient income to push them into higher income tax brackets.

Responding to other questions, Lord Agnew said a key part of planned Government reforms to the private rented sector will be to ensure that the flexibility of tenancies is retained.

‘The PRS plays an important role in providing homes to over 4m households in England, he said. ‘It supports labour market mobility, allowing households to move easily both within and between regions, leading to a more efficient allocation of labour and skills. This is due to the relative ease with which renters can give notice and sign new tenancies, and the relative lower costs of moving, when compared to owner-occupier house sales.

‘The Government is committed to delivering a package of reforms to ensure the PRS can operate effectively and meet the needs of both tenants and landlords, whilst balancing increased security for those tenants who need and want it, alongside driving an improvement in the quality and standards of PRS accommodation’, he said.