Courts may adjourn possession cases without Covid-19 impact assessmentMake Text Bigger
Over 95% of private tenants are paying their rent or have made an arrangement with their landlord to pay a lower rent or defer payment during the pandemic according to a new survey of tenants out today.
Independent polling for the National Residential Landlords Association finds that 87% of private tenants have paid their rent as normal throughout the pandemic. An additional 8% said that they had agreed a reduced rent, a rent-free period or made some other agreement with their landlord or letting agent
Ahead of the courts beginning to hear possession cases from 24th August, the survey shows that just over three per cent of tenants are building arrears and are unable or unwilling to repay these. Less than a third of all those with arrears (2% of the entire survey sample) have been served with a possession notice.
Further evidence that landlords are working to keep tenants in their homes comes from a separate survey which shows that 55% of landlords who have granted at least one tenant a deferred rent or rent-free period plan to absorb the losses from their own savings.
These figures come ahead of new rules being introduced which will mean courts can adjourn possession cases where landlords have failed to adequately explain the impact that the pandemic might have had on their tenants before seeking possession.
The NRLA has developed guidance in conjunction with other groups to support landlords and tenants to agree how to deal with rent arrears to sustain tenancies wherever possible.
It is now calling for Government guaranteed hardship loans to be made available to help those tenants who are in arrears because of the pandemic. Ahead of the winding down of the furlough scheme, the NRLA argues that such loans should be provided to eligible tenants interest-free and ring-fenced solely to cover rent payments in order to give tenants security.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:
“Consistent with our previous surveys, this latest data demonstrates that the vast majority of landlords and tenants are working together to sustain tenancies, and critically that the overwhelming majority of tenants are paying rent as normal. Eviction is not, and need not be, an inevitable outcome where tenants have struggled to pay their rent due to COVID-19. Those who argue otherwise are stoking needless anxiety for tenants.
“When the courts do start to hear cases again, it is essential that they deal swiftly with the most serious cases, including those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or where there are long-standing rent arrears that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
“To offer security to tenants and landlords badly hit during the lockdown we are calling on the government to introduce a tenant loan scheme to help pay off arrears built due to the coronavirus.”
- The NRLA commissioned the marketing research firm, Dynata, to understand the impact that coronavirus has had on tenants in the private rented sector. The fieldwork was carried out between 20th July and 4th August. It is based on the responses of 2,243 tenants in England and Wales.
- A survey of 1,305 members of the NRLA in England and Wales was conducted between 12th June and 5th July covering the second quarter of 2020 by the polling firm BVA BDRC.
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