75% of residential landlords have taken steps to support tenants during the current cost-of-living crisis, according to new research from Shawbrook.
With 85% of tenants having made lifestyle changes to cope with inflationary pressures, many landlords have been taking action to help. 25% have frozen rents, while 22% have offered a payment holiday to those who needed it. 22% have offered those who are struggling with their finances a reduction in rent, and 19% have offered rent inclusive of bills.
14% of landlords haven’t made any changes in response to the cost-of-living crisis but say they would be willing to do so if their tenants are having financial difficulties in the future. 36% of renters surveyed said they would consider asking for a reduction in rent, and 35% would consider asking for a rental holiday.
In addition to offering direct financial support for tenants, 26% of landlords have made energy efficiency upgrades, such as insulation, double glazing or a new boiler, to their properties to help with rising energy bills.
Under new proposed regulations, landlords may be required to make changes to their properties to improve the energy efficiency by 2025 for all new tenancies. This means bringing their property’s EPC rating up to a C or above. For existing tenancies, landlords have until 2028.
Note that these dates are still to be confirmed, and may slip back. However, many are already taking steps to do so. Shawbrook’s research suggests this is, in large part, due to rising energy costs.
Emma Cox, managing director of real estate at Shawbrook, said: “With the cost of living crisis showing no signs of easing, it’s encouraging to see responsible landlords play their part in reducing the burden their tenants are facing. Our research showed that a third of tenants are already starting to cut back on essentials like food shopping due to rising costs.
“In order to have a fair and sustainable rental market, its vital that landlords are open to supporting their tenants through hard times. Reducing rents or offering payment holidays will help tenants during the worst of the crisis and get them back on their feet.
“Making improvements to properties in order to reduce energy costs not only offers a long-term solution to rising prices, but also enables landlords to start to get in front of upcoming EPC legislation.
“For landlords looking to make improvements to their properties, speaking to your broker on how best to finance any works will help get any renovations underway quickly, whilst still maintaining cash reserves.”