Estate and Letting agent trade body Propertymark has warned the government to tackle Covid-induced tenant debt and reform the court system.
Otherwise it said landlords could leave the sector in droves, as a survey from The Mortgage Works found that 20% of landlords are likely to sell property in the next 12 months.
Propertymark warned of “catastrophic” consequences for the housing system if so many landlords call it quits.
Moving goal posts, tax implications, tenant debt and a backlog in the courts are reasons many smaller portfolio landlords are being left with little options, according to Propertymark.
Mark Hayward, chief policy advisor for Propertymark, said: “We are urging the UK government to look at the bigger picture here.
“It’s not about propping up landlords but more about doing the right thing for the country as we work to build back better from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
“Ultimately the housing system needs to work for everyone, but landlords are being asked to carry too much of the financial burden caused by the pandemic. We are risking good landlords leaving the market.
“The private rented sector supports 5 million households in the UK and is an important provider of homes against a backdrop of an overwhelmed social housing system.
“However, at the moment, the risks associated with being a landlord are incredibly high and the financial help for tenants and landlords struggling under the weight of accumulated Covid-related debt is inadequate.”
The UK government previously stated that for, “most landlords, income from rent makes up 42 per cent of their total gross income, making them highly vulnerable when their tenants build up rent arrears.”
The proportion of private renters in arrears tripled during the pandemic, from 3% between April 2019 and March 2020 to 9% during November and December 2020.