Speculation that there will be a sharp increase in evictions once the existing evictions ban is lifted next month has been rejected by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
New research published today by Shelter on rent arrears due to the Covid-19 pandemic suggests that the coronavirus crisis will eventually lead to a rise in tenant evictions, as many people face financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
But the NRLA says that Shelter’s claim is wide of the mark and fails to acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of landlords are doing all they can to sustain existing tenancies.
An NRLA survey of more than 2,000 tenants across England and Wales found that most tenants had paid their rent as usual since the coronavirus crisis began.
Most, 84%, had not needed to ask their landlord for any support. Of those that did ask, three quarters received a positive response.
Chris Norris, policy director for the NRLA, commented: “Throughout the lockdown, our surveys show that the vast majority of landlords have been doing all they can to keep people in their homes.”
A number of organisations from across the housing sector have teamed up to support landlords and tenants facing rent arrears as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The organisations are launching guidance offering practical ways in which landlords and tenants can work to address arrears that might be building as a result of the pandemic.
The guidance suggests that both parties need to raise concerns that might be arising early on, along with advice about measures that can be taken such as agreeing rent deferrals, reductions and suspensions.
Norris continued: “Our recently published guidance supports tenants and landlords to hold discussions about how to address rent arrears and sustain tenancies.”
He added: “It is important though to distinguish between tenants affected by Covid-19 and those who were building rent arrears before lockdown, sometimes for several months and sometimes wilfully.
“When the courts re-start hearing possession cases the latter should be the priority along with instances where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.”