Less than five per cent of private tenants have fallen into rent arrears during the pandemic dispelling fears there will be an eviction surge in the coming months, says an industry trade body.
In a survey of private tenants carried out by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 87 per cent of tenants said they had maintained their full rent payments throughout the pandemic. A further eight per cent said they had agreed with their landlord to pay lower rent, take a payment holiday or made other arrangements, while three per cent had built up arrears and were unable or unwilling to repay the debt.
A ban on evicting tenants was brought in at the start of the lockdown period to protect renters in financial difficulty. But from 24 August, the courts will begin to hear possession cases again.
Some two per cent of those surveyed said they had been served with an eviction notice.
NRLA also reported that in a separate survey, 55 per cent of landlords who have granted at least one tenant a deferred rent or rent free period plan to absorb the losses from their own savings.
These figures come ahead of new rules being introduced which will mean courts can adjourn possession cases where landlords have failed to adequately explain the impact that the pandemic might have had on their tenants before seeking possession.
The trade body has developed guidance along with with other groups to support landlords and tenants on reaching an agreement over how to deal with rent arrears to sustain tenancies wherever possible. NRLA is also calling for the government to introduce a tenant loan scheme to help pay off arrears built up due to the coronavirus.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “The vast majority of landlords and tenants are working together to sustain tenancies, and critically the overwhelming majority of tenants are paying rent as normal. Eviction is not, and need not be, an inevitable outcome where tenants have struggled to pay their rent due to Covid-19. Those who argue otherwise are stoking needless anxiety for tenants.”
Samantha Partington is a freelance trade and consumer journalist writing about property and personal finance. Previously she worked worked for the Daily Mail and Property Week. She is the former deputy editor of Mortgage Solutions and editor of Specialist Lending Solutions.
Before becoming a journalist, Samantha worked as a mortgage broker and latterly for a mortgage, bridging and secured loan lender. Samantha is CeMAP qualified. Follow her on Twitter @SamJPartington1.