More than half of landlords ‘not interested’ in Scottish Government’s interest-free loan
A survey of landlords in Scotland has suggested that 52.9% will not consider applying for the Scottish Government’s interest-free loan.
Edinburgh estate agent Portolio sent out a survey to its contact base of more than 1,000 Scottish landlords, as well as on social media, to get the findings.
Earlier this week a £5 million Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme opened for applications to offer eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for a single property.
The fund’s aim is to support private rented sector (PRS) landlords who are not classified as businesses, have five or less properties to rent and have lost rental income due to tenants unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Portolio’s survey contained a number of questions relating to COVID-19 and its effects on various aspects of owning, managing, buying and selling tenanted property. All participants were given the option to remain anonymous.
Speaking about what prompted them to undertake such a survey, co-founder Chris Wood said: “As the landlord’s estate agent, we felt that we were duty-bound and in a great position to contribute to the welfare of the PRS by collecting as many insights as possible.
“It also seemed to us that nobody else was asking the questions we wanted to know the answers to. If there was any info out there then it was anecdotal at best or more UK based - rather than Scotland.”
Another startling statistic from the survey found that almost a third of landlords would struggle to pay the mortgage on their buy-to-let if their tenants could not pay rent. This is cause for quite a high degree of concern should the coronavirus continue to have an impact on rental payments even after restrictions start to ease.
Portolio co-founder Ross Macdonald said: “We discovered that over half of tenants were already experiencing difficulties paying the full rental, and with two further rental payments due before lockdown restrictions are expected to be eased, this percentage is likely to rise.
“Many landlords advised that should rental payments continue to be disrupted then they are likely to experience difficulties paying their buy-to-let mortgages. A worrying situation for both tenants and landlords.”
The statistics weren’t all doom and gloom, however, with 92% of landlords surveyed stating they were happy with the way their letting agent has responded to COVID-19.
Ross said: “The survey provided us with some extremely positive stories despite the situation everyone finds themselves in. It was great to hear about landlords and tenants working together to help each other during what is a very uncertain and stressful time.
“It was also great to hear how proactive letting agents were at maintaining their service levels despite having to quickly adapt to their workforce operating from home.”
The survey had a total of 214 responses from landlords based all over Scotland.
Ross added: “We were delighted with the response we had. We were also delighted with how open the anonymous respondents were with additional information they added to the survey questions.
“This allowed us to form a much better understanding of the challenges currently facing landlords and tenants across the country.”
Another positive was that most landlords hadn’t run into any problems instructing urgent repairs and getting safety certifications carried out during lockdown - with only 16.3% of landlords reporting an issue.
As a landlord himself, Chris had been concerned for the welfare of tenants in Scotland during the COVID-19 lockdown.
He said: “I’ve been heartened by the general caring approach of landlords and letting agents, and in turn the responsible behaviour of tenants. The Scottish PRS is a vital part of Scotland’s housing, and that’s only going to increase.”