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Sharp rise in rent arrears as eviction cases surge

Rent arrears have increased to more than £3m, with almost 2,500 eviction cases waiting to go through the courts, according to The Lettings Industry Council.  

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed significantly to the surge in rent arrears as many tenants face financial hardship.

Research by housing charity Shelter suggests that one in five renters in England are likely to lose their job within the next three months. 


Despite the spike in rent arrears, this will not lead to a hike in immediate evictions. 

Landlords are still unable to start proceedings to evict tenants for the foreseeable future, following the initial decision to ban evictions in mid-March.


The two-month extension, announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick, means that evictions will not be heard in court until August 23 at the earliest.

The government says the aim of the moratorium is to continue to provide renters who have been financially affected by Covid-19 with security and certainty around their living situation.

Franz Doerr, founder and CEO of flatfair, commented: “The figures from The Lettings Industry Council do not come as a great surprise but underline the threat that coronavirus poses to the rental market.

“Renters do not have as much breathing room to cut back on spending, leaving them vulnerable to economic shocks.

“Many tenants have been hit hard financially, either through being furloughed or losing their job altogether and this adds to the financial pressure that they may already be under.

“More action needs to be taken to support tenants and landlords alike to communicate, and ensure that a fair equitable solution is found in the unfortunate cases where a tenant cannot pay their rent."

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Poll: Do you welcome the government's two-month extension to the ban on evicting renters in England and Wales?


  • icon

    Maybe I have just been lucky, other than one long term commercial tenant unable to trade at present every one else is paying, maybe this rent arrears problem is more likely in London.


    Same with me Andrew. No issues. I do wonder about some of the stories on here sometimes with the ring of terror attached to them.

  • icon

    Mostly depends on the attitude of the tenant.

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    • 26 June 2020 09:52 AM

    Do you really think the Govt. will do ANYTHING that upsets tenants?

    Of course not, any money involved or lost will fall to the landlords.

    Mark my words......

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    • 26 June 2020 09:59 AM

    Lets hope that many of these defaulting tenants were actually on the beach in Bournemouth yesterday.
    At least it will keep all the total idiots in the country in one place!!!

    Madness. Total madness.

  • icon

    Will they let us all see the survey questions and answers to confirm the 1 in 5 will lose their job in the next 3 months?

    Of course not so it is just a pie in the sky, plucked out of the air statement. Carefully worded to state "Research by housing charity Shelter suggests....." If statistics can prove, and statistics can prove anything,...................!

  • icon

    Any research by Shelter will be biased rubbish. Apparently there are lots of jobs available picking fruit that worried tenants could take - but why bother when landlords are powerless to pursue their legal rights?

    Will the folly of not insisting on large deposits be recognised? Don't hold your breath!

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    • 26 June 2020 15:31 PM

    Large deposits are all very well but NO sane LL would ever accept more than 2 months rent as a deposit under the old deposit regulations.

    Obviously there is now a 5 week maximum now.

    In case LL weren't aware that under old regulations if a LL took more than 2 months rent as a deposit they created a Premium Tenancy.
    This would allow tenants to change aspects of the tenancy.
    Which is the only reason I never took more than 2 months rent as a deposit.

    This is maximum amount of deposit Govt should have mandated.
    Plus they should have allowed an additional Pet Deposit of say 2 weeks of rent.

    These would have been the maximum deposits allowed which coincidentally would prevent a tenancy from being converted to a Premium tenancy with the additional Pet Deposit being excluded from being considered as part of the main deposit ensuring no Premium Deposit was created.

    But dopey Govt didn't do this.

    So now on principle I do not allow pets.
    5 weeks deposit is totally inadequate to cover for rent defaulting and damages.
    2 months deposit was inadequate but certainly slightly better than 5 weeks.

    For tenants with pets Govt by its stupid deposit regulations is now responsible for many pets being put down.

    Many LL would accept pets but NOT if they are unable to achieve an additional deposit over and above 5 weeks of deposit.

    Govt by it's actions is preventing tenants from having normal domestic circumstances.
    Pets are a major part of tenant lives.
    Now tenants are being discriminated against through no fault of their own by LL who have no alternative than to discriminate if separate pet deposits aren't allowed.


    I was one of very few landlords in my area that would consider pets with an increased deposit, now I ask for an increased rent, which goes down like a lead balloon

  • Justine Nuttine

    If a property is being sublet by companies of non-occupying individuals, the landlord can recover the property and start getting rent directly from the occupying tenants.
    With sublet recovery model commercial leases can be effectively forfeited on behalf of landlords, property recovered while protecting the rights of the existing tenants.

    • 26 June 2020 21:00 PM

    What on earth are you wittering on about!?
    You clearly haven't a clue how the eviction process works.

    Go and do a bit of research to make informed comments rather than the rubbish you have just spouted.
    Sub-let or NOT the LL needs to take action against the original tenant.
    When he is evicted so is anyone else whatever their alleged occupancy status.

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    • 27 June 2020 01:25 AM

    Evictions will only occur in September 2021
    It will take at least that long from October to obtain eviction by CC bailiffs.

    There will be Hundreds of thousands of evictions then as feckless tenants will remain rent free until eventually evicted.

    I wonder how many LL will be able to avoid lender repossession if they are unable to pay mortgages in the absence of rent

    I reckon many LL will be using up family reserves to avoid repossession so that feckless rent defaulting tenants can live for free until eviction eventually occurs.


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