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Lenders urged to support landlords affected by COVID-19

Buy-to-let broker Property Master has called on lenders to ensure the understanding approach they are taking to personal customers is extended to landlords.

Landlords are already reporting cases of tenants facing difficulties in paying their rent as work dries up or they self-isolate.

Angus Stewart, chief executive of Property Master, said: “We are already hearing from landlords who have tenants saying they will be late with rent payments or who may not be able to pay their rent at all.

“There are reports of tenants whose working hours have been reduced or who work for overseas companies that do not appear to be currently trading.

“In addition, given current medical advice to stay at home if you are exhibiting possible Corona virus symptoms, we would expect more tenants to find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.”

Property Master staff are now working remotely.

One Buckinghamshire-based landlord, Matthew Lauchlan, explains the difficulties he is facing.

He said: “Holiday bookings have really dropped off at the moment as people put any travel and vacation plans on hold.

“But what I am even more worried about is that I am now being contacted by tenants who for one reason or another as a result of the Corona virus are not being paid.

“They are letting me know that this means they’re going to struggle to pay the rent. If that happens on any kind of scale it could have a knock-on effect on my mortgage repayments.

“Being a larger landlord will help me spread the risk but that will not be so easy for small landlords with just one or two properties.”

“I plan to talk to my lenders as soon as possible so they are up to speed with what I am seeing. I am hoping they can work with me to find some sort of long-term solution as no-one knows how long this situation will continue.”