The headlines have been full of research and statistics regarding the state of tenant finances, but a new piece of research shows that landlords are suffering too. £2.1 billion is being lost through vacant properties, tenant arrears, and unexpected maintenance charges, among other things, with the average UK landlord shelling out £1,500 a year in ad hoc costs.
The study, undertaken by one of the UK’s largest letting agents, found that 84% of landlords do not receive as much money as anticipated through their monthly rental income because of unexpected costs, such as tenant arrears. 20% reported having lost earnings from their core employment, having had to take time away in order to deal with their tenants and property.
One of the things that has been hitting landlords hardest financially, according to the study, is void periods. Nearly half of landlords revealed that they did not receive any rental income on their property for up to three months due to the property being vacant. 10% were found to have gone six months or more without tenants in their property, despite the disparity between supply and demand in the UK private rental sector. 70% of landlords were found to have experienced void periods in the last three years, but less than a third of these landlords say that they were prepared for these costs.
The large-scale study also found that over half of tenants are late with their rental payments, and that 59% of landlords have had to chase up their tenants at some point this year to demand payment. Tenant arrears is a massive concern for landlords, with 91% saying that they are worried about the impact it will have on them in the next two years.
Although, it wasn’t just the financial impact that was shown to be affecting landlords, with 82% having experienced inconveniences such as missing a personal event or cutting back on social activities due to the necessary duties that come with being a landlord. 20% had been called out to a property four or five times a year.
Around 40% of landlords were found to pay more than £1,000 a year on unexpected costs, while one in seven say that they pay out more than £1,500.
The findings of the study clearly show that landlords, far from the media image often portrayed of a millionaire money-grubber that squeezes every penny from the poor, have many of their own financial concerns. Many landlords, it must not be forgotten, are ‘accidental’, having to rent their properties out of necessity for various reasons. Such people do not deserve to be accused of taking advantage of the vulnerable, for they themselves face financial hardship.