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Landlords fear thousands of tenants will now fail referencing

Tenants with arrears accumulated during the pandemic are finding it tough to secure alternative accommodation because their credit scores have been impacted.

The National Residential Landlords Association calculates that as many as 210,000 renters are in this position,

The association says that with emergency restrictions easing from today, its survey of some 2,000 private tenants suggest that seven per cent have built up arrears since the start of the pandemic 15 months ago.


A quarter of those with arrears say their landlord has attempted to reclaim these by seeking a court order. Such orders, where successful, damage a tenant’s credit score – an outcome which makes it for harder for them to access new housing in the future.

The data, compiled by research consultancy Dynata for the NRLA, shows that the average amount of rent owed by those in arrears which started during the pandemic is approaching £900. Around 30 per cent of those who are presently in arrears now owe £1,000 or more.

The association also suggests over 80 per cent of those renters now in arrears were not in arrears at the start of the pandemic.

The association says the majority of tenants in arrears do not qualify for emergency housing support provided by councils to help those in receipt of benefits. 

The government has also frozen housing benefit rates in cash terms, a policy the Institute for Fiscal Studies has branded as “arbitrary and unfair.”

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “As the private rented sector moves out of lockdown measures, the Chancellor has failed to provide tenants with the support they need. This is especially the case for the majority of those in rent arrears who do not qualify for benefit support.

“Without urgent assistance, many tenants face the prospect of losing their home needlessly as landlords struggle to shoulder the cost of arrears. Affected tenants also potentially face the negative impact of damage to their credit scores.

“The government needs to develop a financial package which ensures that benefits cover the rents of those in receipt of them. For those who do not qualify for benefit support, an interest free, government guaranteed tenant hardship loan should be established, similar to those in Wales and Scotland.”

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    Aww poor tenants.


    You know, the tenant/ landlord relationship is a symbiotic one. You both need each other to be successful. Comments like this are judgemental and unkind. Although some tenants may be playing the system and deliberately failing to pay, there are many more who through no fault of their own find themselves in a difficult financial situation. Surely the best outcome for everyone is for us all to work together to come to a solution that is compassionate.

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    NRLA campaigning for the tenant again

  • Theodor Cable

    Shame they did not consider these issues when they stopped paying their rent as they are legally and rightfully obliged too, and technically have broken a legal contract.

    Poor babies.


    Have you even tried to see this situation from the other perspective? The government forced many people to stop work for no reason whatsoever. This has led to a lot of people unable to meet their 'legal contract' through no fault of their own. For those who have deliberately withheld rent, then yes they should be evicted and suffer the consequences, but for those who are innocent in this, then landlords, government and tenants should all work together in a compassionate manner.

    Theodor Cable

    alternately, perhaps they should have been much more frugal during the good times, which many people hold savings did just that and for such situations and times.

    They should be relying on their savings and not on LLs who are not obliged to let them live in houses that do not belong to them.

    Prudence should now be a password for the future. Who knows what the next hit might be and where from?

    In this world, we should not expect for anybody else to pay for our own financial lack of foresight.

    You want it. You pay for it. FULL STOP

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    Well those that rent don't aways have the spare money from their wages to save anything! Rents account for a good portion of expenditure, so why not reduce your rent to give people some headroom to save?


    But a lot of expenses have dropped during lock-down. Less travel expenses, less entertainment/holiday expenses, less clothes/hair/makeup expenses. I don't know about those who've been renting and racking up arrears but surely some of them would have been able to save money instead of bleating about how poor they are.

    And no, I'm not on about those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, but even those on furlough should have been able to save some money.

    My daughter currently rents and she was furloughed then on maternity leave, but has managed to keep paying her rent because of everything else she hasn't been able to do that she would usually do (again, think days/nights out, holidays, day trips, brand name clothes instead of the same thing made in the same factory but without the name tag). She has gone down the rental route so she's not 'cadging off me' (her words) - I just wish tenants had the same values as her and stopped 'cadging' (i.e. blagging freebies and refusing to pay cos 'they don't have to') from landlords.


    They're too busy moaning about how unfair life is to them, Julian. Shelter and GR must be laughing like drains when they read their out-of-touch rubbish. It plays well with the little filter bubble they've made for themselves, but they're oblivious to how ridiculous they look to the people out there who make the decisions that affect our industry. You only have to look at the amount of personal abuse they like to dish out at anyone who disagrees. Perish the thought that they might consider the possibility that they might be mistaken.

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    Julian, my rents haven’t gone up in 8 years and were behind at that time. Further we have been loaded with Regulatory and compliance costs, now add substantial arrears, how many hits do you want us to take.

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    P.S , Julian don’t forget to tell Shelter / Generation Rent etc to stop working against us.

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    I have over 1000 tenants and not one was unable to pay during the coronavirus outbreak due to the coronavirus in fact the non payers went down in number and the non payers were all wilfully refusing to pay their rent.

    Do I inhabit a different world to Julian and other people?? Yes I agree we should give sympathy to tenants who lost their jobs and were unable to pay buts most of mine were paid during furlough or could claim universal credit.
    Jim haliburton HMO daddy

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    This is exactly what will happen. Tenants who have previously been handed a free pass (evicted without financial penalty) by a pragmatic Landlord via the quicker possession route S21 afforded, will now use section 8 and go for the money too. There will be a new epidemic of Tenants with poor credit who will get less support because of the newly documented poor financial history.
    Anyone with a brain can foresee this... Says a lot doesn't it!


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