Following research published by Shelter on rent arrears caused by the effects of COVID-19, the National Residential Landlords Associations (NRLA) has responded by saying they will do all they can to sustain tenancies.
Chris Norris, Policy Director for the NRLA said: “Throughout the lockdown, our surveys show that the vast majority of landlords have been doing all they can to keep people in their homes.
“Our recently published guidance supports tenants and landlords to hold discussions about how to address rent arrears and sustain tenancies.
“It is important though to distinguish between tenants affected by COVID-19 and those who were building rent arrears before lockdown, sometimes for several months and sometimes wilfully.
“When the courts re-start hearing possession cases the latter should be the priority along with instances where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.”
The NRLA has released the following case studies:
Mrs R is a single parent who finds herself potentially unemployed as a new job she was about to start fell through due to the pandemic. She does not make any money on the property as it is in negative equity and has kept rent levels the same for a decade.
She submitted court papers to repossess a property because a tenant had not paid rent since around November last year and has convictions for harassing the neighbours. The evictions ban means that the tenant continues to stay in the property, living without paying any rent despite him receiving furlough money.
Peter (not his real name)
Peter had to begin evictions proceedings in January against one of his tenants due to the non-payment of rent, a process which has been halted due to the repossessions ban.
Peter says of the tenant: “He has continually been anti-social, paid little rent, although the application for direct payment was quick, easy and successful. Arrears still exist, as does the antisocial behaviour. He also admits people into the house, parties and socialising daily…This tenant is aware that eviction is not possible until an order is made and bailiffs attend. He is hiding and protected behind all Covid laws…it’s been negative, disruptive, anti-social and potentially dangerous to tenants in my case. Ministers should allow evictions for specific cases.”
In partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing, The Property Redress Scheme, My Deposits, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and ARLA Propertymark, the NRLA has launch guidance to help prevent rent arrears. It supplies support for both landlords and tenants.
The organisations have released the following joint statement: “COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for both tenants and landlords. As a group we are committed to doing everything possible to sustain tenancies both through and beyond this period of crisis.
“The guidance being launched today has an important role to play in achieving this and we encourage all tenants and landlords to work through it together in a spirit of positive co-operation.”