Landlords struggling to pay their mortgage were also told that they can apply for a three-month payment holiday, thanks to a scheme from the government and the banks.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) wants the government to make it clear that tenants should continue to pay their rent, in spite of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Ben Beadle, the NRLA chief executive, said that while landlords need to be flexible if their tenants are struggling, any rent holidays should be agreed in advance. "This is not a green light to tenants everywhere to stop paying their rent," he said.
According to the NRLA, many landlords could face financial difficulties, if rents are not paid, reducing the supply of homes to rent. The association added that tenants receiving government support - such as 80% of their wages if furloughed, or 80% of profits if self-employed - ought to be in a position to continue to make rental payments.
In March, the government announced a three-month ban on evictions in England and Wales. Landlords struggling to pay their mortgage were also told that they can apply for a three-month payment holiday, thanks to a scheme from the government and the banks. The expectation is that landlords would pass this payment holiday on to cash-strapped tenants, with the shortfall to be made up at a later date.
However, such payment holidays only help buy-to-let landlords with a mortgage, not those who own their properties outright but rely on the rent as their main source of income.
Some groups representing tenants have called for a rent-free period to help those in financial difficulties. The National Union of Students, for example, wants students, who have left term-time accommodation while courses are suspended, to be exempt from rent payments.
The NRLA believes that such moves would mean hardship for landlords, who could still be required to pay council tax bills and for the upkeep of properties, forcing many to sell up and reducing the availability of homes to rent in the future.
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