Landlords owed more than £4m of rent during coronavirus crunch

Almost 3,000 eviction cases are currently pending in the courts with agents and landlords owed more than £4m of rent, industry data shows.

Figures from rental representative body The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) show the impact of the eviction ban that began amid the start of the pandemic in March and will last until August.

Of 16 agents – both large and small – the TLIC said members reported landlords had 2,915 eviction cases pending, 916 of which were from before the pandemic.

The research found landlords are being hit with £4.6m of arrears.

Data from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has previously found that 9% of its 80,000 members had an outstanding claim under Section 8, Section 21, or both prior to suspension of proceedings at the end of March.

Just 1% said that they had existing rent arrears going into the lockdown which have continued to increase.

Chris Norris, policy director for the NRLA, said: “We are working with landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible, with material due to be published shortly to support discussions about how to manage and address rent arrears without needing to go to court.

“This builds on the positive way in which the vast majority of landlords and tenants are working during such challenging times.

“That said, the ban on repossessions is not without consequences. That is why we are campaigning to ensure that certain cases are prioritised from the end of August.

“This should include those related to anti-social behaviour, cases that began but were then paused and instances of rent arrears built before the lockdown.”

Commenting on the research, Franz Doerr, founder of deposit replacement scheme flatfair, said: “Renters do not have as much breathing room to cut back on spending, leaving them vulnerable to economic shocks.

“Many tenants have been hit hard financially, either through being furloughed or losing their job altogether and this adds to the financial pressure that they may already be under.

“More action needs to be taken to support tenants and landlords alike to communicate, and ensure that a fair equitable solution is found in the unfortunate cases where a tenant cannot pay their rent.”

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One Comment

  1. DASH94

    Maybe I’m being cynical – and it has been a rubbish week for one reason or another, but I read most of the above article to read ‘we need to find ways to get landlords to write off these rent arrears’

    There are certainly people (landlords and tenants alike), who have fallen through the cracks in the government support system – and I have every sympathy for them, and (my experience only here), the tenants among them are the ones that called us and established communication early on and made payment arrangements and terms with their landlords.

    There are also some people who (again – my experience only), who haven’t fallen through the cracks, but have failed to pay their rent anyway.   I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been told versions of  ‘You can’t evict me – so I’m not paying and there’s nothing you can do about it’

     

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