To understand the impact that the pandemic has had on private sector tenants the National Residential Landlords Association (NLRA) commissioned the research agency, Dynata, to survey tenants.
Based on responses from just over 2,000 tenants, the research found that:
- 90% had been able to pay their rent as usual since the coronavirus crisis began.
- 59% said their income had not been affected during the crisis.
- 84% had not needed to ask their landlord or letting agent for any support. Of those that did, three quarters received a positive response.
- Overall, 4% of tenants said that they had made a request for support which resulted in either no response from their landlord or letting agent, or had the request refused.
As outlined in a short report published today, the NRLA argues that this shows that there is not likely to be a large number of repossessions by landlords once the evictions ban is lifted. This is supported by research by Hamptons International showing that landlords want to keep tenants in situ wherever they can.
Ahead of the moratorium being lifted on repossession cases, the NRLA is working with the Government to develop a pre-action protocol (PAP) for the private rented sector in a way that works for both tenants and landlords. This would ensure that landlords and tenants have done everything possible to reach an agreement on rent arrears before any repossession can take place. Our legal advice is that such a protocol would provide protection from any landlord seeking to circumvent it.
Although the NRLA has welcomed support for the sector from the Government we believe further help should be given to ensure tenants have the cash they need to pay their rent. This includes:
- Further extending the Local Housing Allowance so that it fully covers rents.
- Ending the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit or converting the existing advance to a grant
- Enabling the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord giving tenants certainty about rent payments.
- Developing hardship loans for those tenants where existing housing support payments are insufficient to meet their costs during the crisis, but who expect their finances to recover in the short to medium term.
When courts begin hearing repossession case again the NRLA is calling for priority to be given to cases where tenants are engaged in anti-social behaviour or who might be committing domestic abuse.
The full report is available on our website.