A survey of private rental sector clients by accreditation body safeagent suggests 44 per cent feel government-backed loans for tenants to pay off arrears would make matters worse.
This is despite calls for such loans from a number of trade bodies, who want England to follow Wales where such loans are now available.
Only 38 per cent of safeagent firms feel such loans are a solution.
And even those in favour say loans introduced in England should be carefully managed, with the significant majority saying they should go directly to the landlord or agent.
However, letting agents who responded to the survey felt that landlord clients may be more likely to back the loan idea, as it would provide a short-term means of arrears being paid off.
On the subject of arrears, safeagent’s survey suggests that although they are currently higher than the usual three to five per cent of normal times, there is no sign yet of a huge debt mountain created by the Coronavirus.
safeagent says 21 per cent of respondents report arrears amongst 10 to 20 per cent of tenants, while seven per cent say there are no arrears at all.
Of those tenants owing their landlords, most were only one or two months behind.
When asked what route landlords would pursue as a result of arrears, agents commented that eviction was always a last resort.
Payment plans were by far the most popular alternative option at 86 per cent. Potential eviction was 37 per cent and mediation was 26 per cent; one in five say landlords may sell property.
safeagent chief executive Isobel Thomson says: “safeagent has real concerns about tenant loans, and we share many of our agents' worries that they might only serve to add to debt and cause further arrears in the future. We believe mediation and payment plans are a more effective solution for all parties.”
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