How has the rental sector survived coronavirus?

The rental sector has been under the spotlight, with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector proving costly for millions of people throughout the UK.

When considering and assessing how people have been affected by the effects felt by the rental property sector, it is typically the buyers and sellers who have been considered. However, there are of course many millions of tenants and landlords throughout the country who for different reasons and through no fault of their own, have been sometimes badly affected by the pandemic.

UK property investor Rex Ekaireb said: “Both landlords and tenants have felt a significant pinch as a direct result of COVID-19. Through no fault of their own, tenants have seen their income drop or altogether disappear.”

Rex Ekaireb continued: “In the case of landlords, what may well be their sole income has, even if just temporarily, dried up and hit them hard. Not every landlord has a huge portfolio of properties and the lack of rental income will hit them hard.”

Many tenants have found themselves placed on furlough with others seeing potentially significant drops in their monthly income. This has meant that many tenants have not been able to pay their rent.

In most cases, both in the commercial and residential sectors, landlords have been understanding and have actively worked with tenants to ensure they can over a longer period pay their rent. In the case of commercial properties, many businesses, being forced to close to halt the spread of the virus, will have found themselves with no income whatsoever.

Although their employees may well have been eligible for furlough, the business itself may not be able to cope for more than a few weeks or months with no income to pay the bills and rent.

Some landlords have not been understanding in this regard, but just as in cases of residential tenants, the vast majority have been very understanding, allowing deferrals of rental payments.

Rex Ekaireb commented on this, saying: “For a commercial landlord, keeping hold of a tenant in these uncertain times is extraordinarily valuable. Rather than just kicking out a business for not paying its rent, working together, to get a payment plan in place over a longer period for example is certainly preferable.”

Ekaireb also said: “For businesses, this pandemic has been crippling and has hit them hard. Coming from a small business background myself, I know that such financial hits, even if just for a few months, can be devastating and I think most landlords empathise with that.”

With the UK economy and businesses reopening and starting to get back to some semblance of normality, it will hopefully not be too long until tenants and landlords are back to where they were before the pandemic hit. However, businesses will need to increase what they have in the coffers and the resources available to them just in case there are any future lockdowns and closures. For landlords and those who have been in the property market, such as Rex Ekaireb, empathy and keeping clear channels of communication with tenants is going to remain key for the future.