Following the decision to extend the tenant eviction ban until at least 22 February, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is calling on the government to show the same support for landlords as it has for tenants.
The landlord body has accepted the need for the delay in tenant evictions amid the Covid-19 crisis, but believes that landlords should be offered the same level of support from the government during these difficult times.
Research for the NRLA indicates that more than 800,000 renters in England and Wales have built arrears since lockdown measures started in March last year.
The scale of the rent debt crisis now engulfing the sector means that without further government support, landlords cannot continue that support indefinitely, the organisation says.
Data published by the Ministry of Justice shows that in the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of claims made by private landlords in England and Wales to repossess properties fell by 37% compared to the same period in 2019, as many landlords continue to do all they can to support tenants facing hardship during the pandemic.
The number of possession claims made under the accelerated procedure, used by both private and social landlords, also fell by just under 43% in the final quarter of last year compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
Overall, across the whole of 2020, the number of claims by private landlords to repossess properties fell by 48%, with the number of claims made under the accelerated procedure dropping by just over 52%.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “The figures show that despite fears to the contrary, landlords have prioritised sustaining tenancies and supporting renters during the pandemic.
“That said, landlords cannot continue indefinitely going without receiving rent. Bans on repossessions are only leading to tenants accumulating more and more debt which will become impossible for them to pay back. This will eventually lead to many more losing their homes.
“Ministers can still avert this if they step in to help the sector through a package of hardship loans and grants.”