The UK rental market has seen increased activity in affluent areas, and a sharp reduction in activity in deprived areas, since reopening after the lockdown.
There was a 1.3% year-on-year increase in the number of homes let in 10% of the wealthiest neighbourhoods between May and September, according to research by Hamptons International. New instructions also rose by 4%.
Meanwhile, instructions fell by 17.7% over the year in the bottom 10%, with a 14.8% decrease in the number of homes being let.
This year, the number of homes being let between May and September across the UK fell by 5.3% when compared with the same timeframe last year.
Head of research at Hamptons International, Aneisha Beveridge, said: “Over the course of the pandemic tenants are more likely to have seen their incomes hit than homeowners. But the economic crisis has also widened divisions within the rental market.
“Tenants living in the least affluent areas of the country are most likely to have been impacted by the economic crisis and this has made it harder for some renters to move home – typically at a time when they need to prove their income and pass referencing checks,” she added.
Research by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found that two-thirds of its members were expecting their business to be affected negatively by the pandemic. This is despite prices rising for tenants.
Just over 2000 members responded to the survey, with 48% expecting a slight negative impact, and 18% expecting a significant impact.
Private sector rent arrears in England due to the pandemic are estimated to be as much as £437m. The group have called on the government to offer hardship loans to tenants so they can cover some of these payments.
Chief executive of the NRLA, Ben Beadle, said: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords have been working constructively with their tenants where they have struggled due to the pandemic, it is not sustainable to expect them or tenants to continue having rent arrears building indefinitely.”
The organisation says that paying financial support directly to landlords would cost the government less than its eat out to help out initiative.
“As we head into more local lockdowns, it is even more important that tenants don’t have to worry about meeting their rent bill,” said Beadle.
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