840,000 renters have fallen behind on rent in the year since the eviction ban was introduced
An estimated 840,000 private tenants have fallen behind on their rent in the past year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest research carried out a year after the first restrictions on rental evictions were introduced.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) renewed its call for the Government to provide financial help for struggling renters. The landlord body warned that without this support there would be a wave of repossessions by unpaid landlords once eviction protection measures began to end in June.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “Whilst many landlords and tenants have worked well in responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are now at a crunch point. As the country follows the roadmap out of lockdown, so too emergency measures in the rental market will need to be eased.
“Ministers need to ensure the tenants have the financial means to pay off rent debts built as a result of the pandemic. Without this they will have to accept the inevitable consequence of rising homelessness and damaged credit scores.”
The current ban on residential evictions is due to end on May 31. Until then landlords will have to give tenants six months’ notice before starting eviction proceedings. However, tenants who have built up six months of rent arrears over the past year are counted as among the most egregious cases and can now be evicted.
The Resolution Foundation think tank found that a quarter of renters have lost income as a result of Covid-19.
In February a coalition of charities and industry bodies called on ministers to offer a “targeted financial package” to help renters out of debt, potential homelessness and bad credit.
Scotland and Wales have introduced interest-free Tenant Hardship Loans to help renters pay off arrears built up in lockdown.
The eviction ban has been called little more than a “sticking plaster” that is merely shoring up bigger problems for the future.