A lettings agency says there is very large scale support amongst tenants for the extension to the current bailiff-enforced eviction ban, announced by the government last weekend.
Midlands agency chain Barrows and Forrester says that a survey on its behalf shows 76 per cent of tenants as pleased with the extension - and even 43 per cent of landlords felt the move was justifiable.
Some 46 per cent of tenants stated that they have not seen their financial situation worsen as a result of the pandemic although there are big regional variations - in Northern Ireland, for example, 67 per cent of tenants say they are now worse off.
Tenants in the Midlands and Greater London have also been hit more than most.
Around 18 per cent of tenants surveyed said they struggled or failed to pay the rent during the pandemic so far, but again there are local variations - 28 per cent of tenants in Wales have struggled, as have 27 per cent in Northern Ireland and 21 per cent in both Scotland and the West Midlands.
Some 23 per cent of landlords have seen their level of rental income reduce due to the pandemic: 12 per cent had wanted to evict a tenant but could not do so because of previous bans.
Barrows and Forrester surveyed 1,144 current UK tenants and 992 current UK landlords.
James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, says: “The ban on tenant evictions is a delicate subject and both sides of the argument have valid reasons for wanting to see the ban either extended or lifted.
“Financial reasons brought on by the pandemic are no doubt a factor, with nearly half of tenants seeing their financial situation worsen due to the pandemic.
“However, a far smaller proportion have struggled to pay their rent and many landlords have also seen their rental income sustained which is good news for all of those operating within the sector.
“There are also those that are using the current eviction ban as an excuse to avoid paying rent and while this is a very small proportion of tenants, it still poses a serious headache for landlords.
“Thankfully the government has now allowed landlords to include any unpaid rent accrued since the start of the pandemic to be included within the six month time frame at which point they can start eviction proceedings.
“Of course, the ban itself poses a far more serious issue for some. Financial reasons aside, many of the most serious cases will be due to domestic violence or anti-social behaviour.
“It’s fair to say that in these instances the government should not be protecting tenants from eviction, so it’s reassuring to see that these should continue to be considered on a case by case basis.
“Landlords are the backbone of the rental market and all things considered, much more needs to be done to support them during this tough period.”