Most landlords support tenants during cost-of-living crisis – study

Some of them also made energy efficiency upgrades to help with rising energy bills

Most landlords support tenants during cost-of-living crisis – study

Three in four, or 75%, of residential landlords have taken steps to support tenants during the current cost-of-living crisis, research from specialist bank Shawbrook has found.

As 85% of tenants adjusted their lifestyle to cope with inflationary pressures, landlords have also taken action to help. A quarter of these landlords have frozen rents, while 22% have offered a payment holiday to those who needed it. More than a fifth, or 22%, have also offered those who are financially struggling a reduction in rent, and 19% have offered rent inclusive of bills.

One in seven (14%) landlords have not 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. Over a third (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, more than a quarter (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.

Read more: The push to hit EPC rating ‘C’ – who will pay the price?

“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,” Emma Cox (pictured), managing director of real estate at Shawbrook, commented. “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, it’s 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.”

Under new proposed regulations, landlords may be required to make changes to their properties to improve theit 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 to comply.

“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, while still maintaining cash reserves,” Cox advised.

Shawbrook Bank commissioned Opinium to undertake the survey of 1,000 UK residential landlords and 1,000 UK private tenants between June 22 and 26. The study aims to understand, among others, the industry’s awareness of the upcoming changes to the energy performance certification, which will require properties to be rated ‘C’ or above by 2025 in order to begin a new tenancy.