August 14, 2020

COVID Evictions Fears Most Likely Unwarranted

A survey of 106 letting agencies in England by accreditation body safeagent has dismissed claims by anti-agency groups such as Shelter and Generation Rent that there will be a spate of evictions following the end of the ban later this month.

According to Landlord Zone, 36 per cent of the letting agents quizzed say they do not believe that any of their tenants will be evicted, and a further 57 per cent say there may be evictions but this would involve fewer than 10 per cent of their tenants.

The reasons for the possible evictions given by agents were said to be because of longer-standing arrears, rather than rest not paid during the pandemic.

74 per cent of respondents say that less than 10 per cent of tenants have found themselves unable to pay rent over the past three months. One in 10 agents said that figure was between 10 and 20 per cent of tenants.

For those who are in arrears, the majority of tenants were behind only one or two months while just five per cent of firms say tenants had arrears of over three months.

Tenants gave self-employment, furloughing and delays in Universal Credit as reasons for rent arrears.

To help maintain more tenancies and support both tenants and landlords, safeagent wants landlords to receive immediate direct payments when tenants move on to Universal Credit, rather than having to wait for two months arrears to occur.  

“These results show that the rhetoric emanating from lobbying groups around arrears and the likely number of tenants to be evicted as a result of their inability to pay rent, does not give the full picture," says Isobel Thomson, safeagent chief executive. 

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