Longer eviction ban will hurt most vulnerable and damage rental sector

A prominent figure in the lettings industry has warned that any extension to the current evictions ban would risk hurting the most vulnerable and would damage the wider rental sector.

Dr Rosalind Beck, a doctor of Criminology and a Conservative Party member in South Wales, writes on the Conservativehome website that the current eviction ban – ending later this month – has not been a particular factor in helping renters battling Coronavirus.

In fact she claims that most tenants at risk of eviction are in that position because of failure to pay rent before the virus outbreak, not since. .

“Indeed the National Residential Landlords Association has found that most evictions are currently frozen in the court system – but still accruing rent arrears in most cases –  ‘are down to existing ongoing anti-social behaviour issues and have nothing to do with Covid.’ Paul Shamplina, an eviction specialist, has also said he has 500 cases on his books which pre-date the pandemic” she writes.

In her article she develops the theme that the winder signals sent out by an extension of the eviction ban would quickly hurt those the ban seeks to help – the most vulnerable tenants.

As landlords quit the sector because of their increasing powerlessness, she writes, “supply of rental property will shrink massively just as a greater number of homes are needed.”

Describing the landlords who may well leave the sector, Beck adds: “One can’t take the risk of getting a non-payer when there is no legal redress. Other landlords will go bankrupt as a result of paying for other people’s accommodation and often also their utility costs.

“What’s more, the eviction ban and the proposed scrapping of Section 21 notices will make those who do remain in the market, particularly portfolio landlords who house the majority of tenants, reluctant to rent to anyone other than those considered to carry the least risk of defaulting.

“Guarantors will become indispensable – which will disqualify many tenants from consideration. Just how many hotels, B&Bs, camp or caravan sites will be needed to house those unable to access any rented housing?”

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