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Courts must prioritise rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and domestic violence

While the five-month tenant eviction ban has helped renters that are suffering financial difficulty, it has left landlords powerless to take action against renters committing domestic abuse or making the lives of fellow tenants or neighbours a misery.

These cases must be given top priority by the courts and their processes enhanced to avoid further delay once they start to deal with possession cases next week, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). 

There will be a backlog of cases when the repossessions ban ends on 23 August. Between January and March, just before the ban was put in place, there were 24,320 claims made by private and social landlords to repossess property; 8,093 claims led to a repossession order being made and 1, 336 led to a warrant being issued for repossession in England and Wales.


Chris Norris, policy director for the NRLA, said: “Extending the ban on repossessions is not necessary. Our research clearly shows that the vast majority of landlords and tenants are working together constructively to sustain tenancies wherever possible.   

“We need the courts to deal with cases where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or where there are long-standing rent arrears that have nothing to do with the pandemic. 

“Over the last five months landlords have been powerless to take any action against those who cause misery for fellow tenants and neighbours.”


The past few months have proved particularly challenging for tenants and landlords. 

Some 94% of landlords rent property as an individual and have unlimited liability should their businesses fail. Many rely on their rental income for their livelihood, 44% entered the market to contribute to their pension and 39% report a gross non-rental income of less than £20,000 a year.

It is vital that as the ban on repossessions is lifted, unnecessary scaremongering is avoided, and policy makers and others focus on the facts. The NRLA insists that it is simply wrong to assume that every tenant that has built rent arrears because of Covid-19 will automatically be at risk of eviction.

Independent polling for the NRLA by the research firm Dynata has found that just over 95% of private tenants are paying their rent or have made an arrangement with their landlord to pay a lower rent or defer payment during the pandemic. 

Less than a third of all those with arrears - 2% of the entire survey sample - have been served with a possession notice.

When the courts start hearing claims for repossession again, a landlord with a claim already in progress will have to provide a ‘re-activation notice’ informing the court (and the tenant) in writing. If they do not, the case will remain dormant.

Where these, or a new claim, include non-payment of rent, the landlord has to set out what knowledge they have about the tenant’s circumstances including the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on them and their dependants.

If this information is not forthcoming or is deemed inadequate by the courts, the judges will have powers to adjourn the case. 

Until 30th September, landlords renting property in England have to give tenants a minimum of three months’ notice of their intention to seek possession giving more time for payment arrangements to be agreed. In Wales it is six months for all cases except those related to anti-social behaviour.

The NRLA believes that to support the above the government should develop a financial package, as has happened in Wales, to support tenants to pay off rent arrears built as a result of COVID-19.

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Poll: Do you think a careful re-opening of evictions needs to take place that prioritises pre-Covid 19 debt, anti-social behaviour and domestic violence?


  • Z S
    • Z S
    • 19 August 2020 10:30 AM

    I’ve personally suffered financially from Tenants abusing the system - the law favours Tenants and it is unfair that these Tenants are able to abuse the system and get away with it!!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    yes Zoe, and Politicians talk in the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill of
    " Re-balancing the relationship between landlords and Tenants "
    - you just know if the Govt's involved, its not going to be good for Landlords. !

  • icon

    I think when Labour and Liberal/or any of the communists favouring councils, MP’s, Judges are involved- it’s not good for the landlords.
    -Unless the Govt starts supporting landlords with fair laws to evict rogue & non paying tenants with 2 weeks notice, issuing an online eviction order, enforceable by the Police instead of waiting for bailiffs, PRS will shrink with more landlords selling up and more homeless people on streets-or in 4-5* hotels-as some councils are doing.

    Our laws are in favour of tenants, and an immediate reform is required by the Govt to become fair towards the landlords.
    At present-even if Anti Social Behaviour of a tenant is reported-Police doesn’t take any action. Police officers might just about have a ‘chat’ with the tenant, log a report to provide a reference number for court case but don’t even take the anti social tenants to the police station in custody or issue any legal documents forcing them to stop the tenant’s unacceptable actions.

    #FairLawsForLandlords to support PRS by #SimpleEvictionProcess to evict rogue, and non paying tenants for a balanced approach, low court cost and fairness towards both parties-the landlord and the tenant.

  • icon
    • 19 August 2020 23:04 PM

    I'm not sure why it is the case but as far as I am sure the UK seems to have extremely onerous eviction regulations.
    These facilitate occupancy by rent defaulting tenants.

    This cannot be an acceptable situation.
    Why this remains the case I can't imagine.
    I could conjecture that it avoids Councils becoming involved as they know it could easily take a year to evict.
    But I'm sure when the eviction regulations were devised it was never intended to take many months to a year to achieve.

    But things are as they and for all practical purposes repossession won't be achieved for at least 1 year minimum.

    How this is viable for mortgaged LL beats me.
    I know I'd be bankrupted as I don't have a magic money tree!

    It seems very strange they have done this but in a totally unexpected burst of pragmatism the Welsh Govt is now offering loans for tenants to pay rent while at the same time banning eviction for further months.

    Now I contend that the Welsh Govt is so naive that they seriously expect tenants to take up their offer.

    Tenants aren't that stupid.
    They know they can evade paying any rent at all.
    Civil Recovery is all but impossible.

    If I was a rent defaulting tenant NO way would I take a Govt loan to pay my rent.
    I know it would be highly unlikely for a LL to attempt Civil Recovery and I know how difficult it is to achieve.
    So I know I could evade rent and wait to be evicted.

    This just proves how naive Govt is especially the dopey Welsh one.
    Good intentions maybe but completely naive.

    Tenants should have been avoided with rent paid directly to LL and tenants billed for it.
    Then the Welsh Govt can attempt Civil Recovery when everyone defaults on repaying the Welsh Govt for their assistance!!

  • girish mehta

    . Government promoting politics of envy. If someone has worked hard and achieved something than take it away. We will pass the law and help you . If tenets do not take loans then automatic eviction in 2 weeks. And you will make yourself intentionally homeless.
    The had housing allowance, the have spend it. Then why do the need another bail out and how many time’s you are going to bail these people out?
    I won’t evict my tenants if I can work with them to resolve the issues only time I will take action will be not paying rent. Or antisocial behaviour.
    The lies the press peddling they landlords evict if the ask for repairs is far from truth. This if often caused by tenet damage and lifestyle
    The government need to get the grip with this situation or more people will pull out and tax revenue from property will decline as company start to downsize and even commercial properties become unviable.
    This will cause massive increases in homelessness with shrinking tax intake


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