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It’ll take years for rents and evictions to return to normal - new report

A new academic report suggests that more than 400,000 private tenants may be in significant rent arrears by the end of 2021 - but a surge in evictions is unlikely to occur.

The study, by the research group LSE London, funded by Trust for London and the London School of Economics, uses data from the National Residential Landlords Association.

This suggests that only around 20 per cent of landlords have issued new tenancies to existing tenants, while over 30 per cent have allowed ASTs to become Statutory Periodic Tenancies – short-term rolling contracts of usually one month.


The LSE London group says: “As a result, only tenants with a current AST and who are up to date with their rent or less than eight weeks in arrears are safe from being evicted. This means is that large numbers of tenants are likely to feel increasingly insecure.”

But it states that because of court backlogs it’s unlikely evictions will soar from next month when the ban eases.

“Before the pandemic it was taking a median of 42 weeks for cases to reach repossession – the mean length was nearer a year. Now the small number that are being processed are taking maybe twice that long. What happens when eviction notices are enabled is totally unclear – but if nothing specific is done it could take years to return to normality. Meantime many landlords will be receiving no rent for months on end.”

The LSE London report urges greater protections for private tenants and landlords. 


Professor Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at the LSE and co-author of the report, says: “Most evictions remain on hold until after May 31. Depending on what the government announces will happen after this, many tenants could be vulnerable to being asked to leave their homes.

“However, we do not expect an immediate surge in evictions since, in many cases landlords and tenants have found ways of coping through rent holidays and lower rents during the crises, and some renters have moved in with family or friends.”

And Dr Nancy Holman, associate professor of urban planning and co-author of the report, adds: “In a crisis of this magnitude there are no easy answers. Even if there is a rapid transition back to normality, the long-term arrears and loss of credit-worthiness among tenants and loss of income and confidence for landlords will continue to scar both individuals and the private rented sector for many years to come.

“One in five households in England rent, with many having no other option. If we are to avoid catastrophic problems in the future, we must ensure that the private rented sector remains sustainable.”

You can see the full 45-page report here.

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  • icon

    Evictions are going to be a problem going forward, but this has a knock on effect for tenants as the last thing landlords are going to do is to take any risks with new tenants, it's going to be very careful checks and very careful selection when it comes to new tenants, no benefit claimants, no one under 25, no single mums and a suitable guarantor where ever possible .


    I agree, my agents are extremely picky. None of my mortgages allow HB Tenants and whilst agencies are banned from discriminating, this is what they tell them when an enquiry is made which is totally above board.


    I'm normally strict with my tenant selection criteria. But now, even more so. I'd rather leave my property empty for months than let a rogue tenant in.

  • Matthew Payne

    They are right, its going to take 5 years I reckon to clear the backlog, which wont even start until July before it is suspended again over the coming winter. I expect to see a trend of council led gauranteed rent tenancies gethering pace, with some like Lambeth for example now offering £4500 to LLs up front to sweeten the deal.

  • icon

    Utterly wrong matty

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