This research investigated the mental and economic wellbeing of landlords and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic so as to help governments at all levels make the best housing policy decisions during and following the coronavirus pandemic.
The financial challenges and uncertainty were very stressful for many tenants. The survey results reinforced that there were higher stress levels in tenants than with landlords: almost one third (32%) of tenants reported that they often felt they were unable to control important things in their lives, compared to 15 per cent of landlords. Also, 47 per cent of landlords had confidence in their ability to handle personal problems compared to only 27 per cent of tenants.
The challenges for landlords primarily revolved around economic wellbeing: reporting they had reduced rental income due to changes in the rental market, and had reduced spending to compensate for the heightened risk of losing tenants or having reduced rental income
The analysis found that there were two clear groups of landlords; those who were willing to consider financial assistance for their tenants, and those who were against this. Many landlords reflected that during the pandemic everyone needed to be more accommodating and make sacrifices, and that they had a role and responsibility for the wellbeing of their tenants. Those landlords who had resisted reducing rental payments had concerns around their own financial position, such as the need to continue to service their own mortgages or for landlords who were retired.
Policy development must look to ensure that tenant, landlords and property agents all understand their rights and responsibilities during this time and more clearly define the processes which should be followed for seeking assistance.