Spicerhaart Corporate Sales has called for the government’s 80% salary guarantee to be extended to rental income for small private landlords.
The call follows new measures put in place to protect tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the news that all possessions activity would be frozen for an initial period of three months.
Mark Pilling, managing director of Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, said: “Eviction is always a last resort, never more so than with a deadly pandemic on the loose.
“While a blanket freeze on all possessions activity will protect tenants in the short term, it is bound to lead to an accumulation of arrears that will be all the harder to deal with once the freeze is lifted.
“If there seem to be no consequences to non-payment, some struggling tenants will naturally prioritise other bills, and will be more likely to ignore attempts to communicate with them to manage the situation.
“A three-month ban on possessions activity will result in even longer spells without rental income – possibly six months or more of state-enforced void periods.
“Payment holidays on buy-to-let mortgages will be of limited help to landlords who in many cases rely on income from a small number of properties.
“If one or more of these is not generating an income for an extended period, it could cause families real financial difficulty.
“Rental income is subject to income tax – to say nothing of the stamp duty premium paid by buy-to-let landlords.
“It seems only fair that it should be subject to the same government guarantees as other income affected by the restrictions currently in place.”