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No Evictions Crisis Looming say Landlords

Article Posted - 6th June 2020

New independent research shows there will be no eviction crisis in the private rented sector post-Covid.

The polling, which surveyed over 2,000 tenants across England and Wales found 90 per cent said that they were paying their rent as usual – and had been since the coronavirus crisis began.

In addition to this the vast majority – 84 per cent said that they had not needed to approach their landlord for support.

Of those 16 per cent that did, three quarters said their landlords were able to help.

The poll was commissioned by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and carried out by independent firm Dynata.

The associations said the findings show concerns over a spike in evictions once the current evictions ban is lifted, are unfounded.

With the moratorium on repossession cases due to be lifted , the NRLA is working alongside the Government to develop a pre-action protocol (PAP) for the sector – ensuring both landlords and tenants have done everything that they can to come to an agreement as regards rent arrears before any repossession can take place.

When hearings do resume, the NRLA is calling for priority be given to cases involving debt built prior to lockdown and where there are anti-social tenants or tenants who may be committing domestic abuse.

Priority should be given to cases involving debt built prior to the lockdown, where tenants are anti-social behaviour or may be committing domestic abuse, according to the association.

Ben Beadle, the Chief Executive of the NRLA said: “This survey reflects what we know from our members, which is that nearly all are seeking to support tenants to stay in their homes.

“Given that some 30 per cent of landlords have reported facing some level of financial hardship, they will do all they can to sustain tenancies.

“We understand the concerns of tenants who have built up rent arrears as a result of losing income, but even where a landlord seeks to repossesses a property, our legal advice is that a pre-action protocol would provide protection from any landlord seeking to circumvent it and allow Judges to adjourn cases where it has not been followed.

“To argue that there will be a substantial spike in evictions is scaremongering.”

The NRLA, while welcoming support from the Government says more support needs to be given to ensure tenants have the money they need to pay their rent.

It has asked for the further extension of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to fully covers rents; an end to the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit or the conversion of the existing advance to a grant.

It also wants the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord giving tenants certainty about rent payments and has asked the Government to look at a hardship loan scheme for tenants.

These would be available for tenants who find existing housing support payments insufficient to meet their costs during the crisis but who – in the short to medium term - expect their finances to recover.

The loans themselves would be paid directly to landlords then would be re-paid by the tenant within a fixed number of years.

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