3 ways landlords can help their tenants during hard times

tenant sitting among boxes

Last month, you read about the important pros and cons of maintaining your buy-to-let business in the wake of the pandemic, and while inflation continues to rise.

Now, a survey by Nationwide Building Society claims 74% of UK landlords “feel a sense of duty to support tenants during the cost of living crisis”. Indeed, as a landlord, you may feel responsible for your tenants’ wellbeing as they are hit by high inflation.

However, while you want to help, you may also be concerned about the viability of your business this year. It can be difficult to strike the balance between making ends meet and empathising with your tenants, too.

So, here are three ways landlords can help tenants this year while staying sensible about your own financial viability.

1. Consider freezing rents while the cost of living crisis continues

According to the Nationwide survey, 44% of landlords have supported tenants financially in the last 12 months.

Supporting tenants financially can take many forms, but one common way landlords can help tenants is freezing rents for a fixed term while they shoulder the cost of living crisis.

The survey claims 38% of landlords aim to keep rents the same for the next year, despite the financial challenges this might pose.

Freezing rents may lower your profit margins, but it could have long-term benefits. For example, tenants could be more likely to remain loyal and stay in your property if you have offered a helping hand during a difficult time.

2. Open up the conversation if tenants fail to pay on time

If your tenants can’t pay some of what they owe, this might be understandable in these difficult times. However, it could also pose a risk to your financial viability, especially if you have a mortgage on the property in question.

In this instance, it can be tempting to clamp down on tenants straight away, threatening action if they do not pay. However, it could be constructive to open up the conversation – perhaps through an agent, if necessary – and hear their explanation.

It could be that a payment plan, for example, may be arranged, so tenants can repay their arrears without having to go through the lengthy and emotionally strenuous eviction process.

3. Contribute to rising energy costs

In April 2022, energy regulator Ofgem raised its price cap by 54%. What’s more, Ofgem is forecast to increase it by a further 42% in October.

If your tenants are struggling to meet energy bill requirements, you could offer a helping hand.

As the homeowner, you could help tenants by providing cash loans for energy bills, or by installing energy-efficient tech, such as a smart meter, which will help tenants see how much they might be charged in real time.

Get in touch

For guidance on how to maintain the financial viability of your buy-to-let business, email [email protected] or call 0131 339 2281 to speak to us.

Please note

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.

Buy-to-let (pure) and commercial mortgages are not regulated by the FCA.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

 

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