Samaritan Landlords Help Tenants With Cost of Living

According to new research, landlords are rallying around to do as much as they can to help tenants struggling with the cost of living crisis. Three out of four landlords have taken action to ease tenant finances, says a survey of 1,000 UK landlords by Shawcross Bank. The aid comes from rent freezes, payment holidays and even rent reductions for those that cannot meet the rising cost of living. More than a fifth of landlords have offered rent reductions, payment holidays and help with other bills. Another 14 per cent of landlords - around one in seven - are willing to help tenants who may face financial difficulties.

Lifestyle changes

The bank says 85 per cent of tenants are making lifestyle changes to cope with the impact of rampant inflation that is currently running at around 10 per cent a year. A third of renters say they may have to ask for a rent reduction, while 35 per cent admitted they could do with a rent holiday to catch up with their bills. Landlords also explained they were helping tenants to reduce their energy bills by installing more efficient boilers, draughtproofing and double glazing. A proposed new housing law demands landlords bring homes up to a minimum energy efficiency rating of C or above by April 2025 for new tenancies or April 2028 for existing renters.

Rents up 3.4% in a year

Shawbrook managing director of real estate Emma Cox said: "For a fair and sustainable rental market, it's vital that landlords are open to supporting their tenants through hard times. Reducing rents or offering payment holidays will help tenants get back on their feet during the worst of the crisis.

“Making improvements to properties to reduce energy costs offers a long-term solution to rising prices and enables landlords to start to get ahead of upcoming energy efficiency legislation.”

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows rents increased by 3.4 per cent in the year to August - the fastest growth since the ONS started keeping records in January 2016. The ONS added rents had increased by 14.7 per cent since January 2015.

Buy to let and cost of living FAQ

What is an EPC rating for a rented home?

From April 2025, buy-to-let homes rented on new tenancies will likely require an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of C or above. Existing tenancies should have a C rating from April 2028, and homes failing to reach the C rating must not be let to tenants.

What is Shawbrook Bank?

Shawbrook Bank is a UK challenger banking group specialising in property finance.

What's the rate of inflation?

The Bank of England manages monetary policy, which includes the rate of inflation, which measures changes in the cost of living for a basket of goods and services over a given time. The inflation rate in August 2022 was 8.6 per cent, meaning the basket's average price is 8.6 per cent more now than 12 months ago.

Will landlords get their cost of living help back?

Most landlords helping renters are renegotiating payments over a longer term rather than writing them off or bundling bills into rent payments. Indeed, the government urged this way to deal with rent problems during the COVID pandemic.

Can landlords afford EPC upgrades and rent holidays?

Many landlords face a double whammy of expensive energy efficiency upgrades and loss of rent to finance the work due to the cost of living crisis. Some public funding for EPC work is available, but many landlords must borrow to cover the upgrade costs - estimated at around £7,500 for each buy-to-let property.

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Energy Efficiency Improvements

A tenant is allowed to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement. From 1 April 2018, all rented property let on assured shorthold tenancies, regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and four types of agricultural tenancy, which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least "E".

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Since 1 October 2008, landlords have been required to make an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available to prospective tenants when a property is being advertised for sale or let. The purpose of the EPC is to show prospective tenants the energy performance of the dwelling they are considering renting.

Investing in a Property

Investing in a private rented property can be achieved in a variety of ways. Sometimes landlords inherit a property that they then turn over to renting. Sometimes owners of properties become unintentional landlords because they are unable or unwilling to sell a property at the value the market currently dictates.