WARRINGTON buy-to-let landlords are currently owed more than £1 million in unpaid rent.

The figures have been highlighted by Manoj Patel, director at Hamlet Homes, which is based at Warrington Business Park.

He says there is no getting away from the fact that the rise in the number of buy-to-let properties in Warrington has been ‘nothing short of astonishing’ over the past 20 years.

“Warrington landlords have been accused of scooping up all the smaller Warrington properties for their buy-to-let property empires,” he said.

“Others blamed the Government (of both persuasions) for pouring petrol on the buy-to-let fire for giving landlords an unfair advantage with the way buy-to-let has been taxed in the past.

“Many have said these landlords have priced out Warrington’s ‘Generation Rent’.”

Mr Patel says there is ‘little sympathy’ for landlords, especially as Warrington landlords receive £56,798,904 a year in rent.

“So, as we come out of lockdown, I want to make a stand for Warrington landlords and talk about the great work they have been doing during the pandemic,” he said.

“Since lockdown, it has been (almost) illegal to evict a tenant from private rented property.

“Yet, in the last few weeks, this ‘ban on evictions’ has begun to be eased, making some commentators forecast a ‘tsunami of homelessness’ as landlords ready themselves to kick out the tenants who cannot pay their rent.

“You might say they can afford it, yet I need to highlight an often-untold story in the massive numbers of Warrington landlords who have co-operated with their Warrington tenants to evade eviction.”

Mr Patel says the personal finances of some of Warrington’s landlords and tenants have been ‘ruthlessly strained’ during the past 16 months – and that 737 Warrington tenants are in arrears with their rent to the tune of £1,046,046.

“That’s money these landlords need to pay their mortgages with and even to live off themselves,” he added.

“The eviction ban was imposed in March 2020 and the Government has expected private landlords to stand the cost of their tenants’ rent if they could no longer pay.

“It was estimated over one in five landlords with mortgages had requested a mortgage payment holiday in 2020. Thankfully, that now stands at one in 100 as most Warrington landlords with shortfalls in rent have been using their own personal savings to cover the mortgage payments.

“I have seen so many landlords giving their Warrington tenants rent breaks and discounts to help them through these times. However, most landlords I talk to acknowledge that it is better to have a tenant paying something rather than a tenant paying nothing, hoping that total rent will start flowing as the economy recovers.”

Mr Patel said going into the pandemic, one in 25 Warrington tenants were in arrears, yet that now stands at one in 11.

Furthermore, he highlighted that 1,313 Warrington landlords only have a single property for rent, so the arrears would have to be funded by their personal savings.