Concerns over a spike in evictions once the current ban is lifted are unfounded, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Generation Rent last month claimed that thousands of tenants who have struggled to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic face the prospect of losing their home when the government’s temporary ban on evictions ends this month.
The government’s moratorium on evictions, which runs out on 23 August, is designed to protect tenants that could be facing financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether.
But the NRLA argues that Generation Rent wrongly assumes that landlords are doing nothing to support tenants to stay in their homes where rent arrears are building.
A new survey of tenants out today shows that more than 95% of private renters are paying their rent or have made an arrangement with their landlord to pay a lower rent or defer payment during the pandemic.
Independent polling for the NRLA finds that 87% of private tenants have paid their rent as normal throughout the pandemic. An additional 8% said that they had agreed a reduced rent, a rent-free period or made some other agreement with their landlord or letting agent.
The survey also found that just over 3% of tenants are building arrears and are unable or unwilling to repay these. Less than a third - 2% of the entire survey sample - of all those with arrears have been served with a possession notice.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Consistent with our previous surveys, this latest data demonstrates that the vast majority of landlords and tenants are working together to sustain tenancies, and critically that the overwhelming majority of tenants are paying rent as normal.
“Eviction is not, and need not be, an inevitable outcome where tenants have struggled to pay their rent due to COVID-19. Those who argue otherwise are stoking needless anxiety for tenants.”
Further evidence that landlords are working to keep tenants in their homes comes from a separate survey which shows that 55% of landlords who have granted at least one tenant a deferred rent or rent free period plan to absorb the losses from their own savings.
These figures come ahead of new rules being introduced which will mean courts can adjourn possession cases where landlords have failed to adequately explain the impact that the pandemic might have had on their tenants before seeking possession.
The NRLA is now calling for government guaranteed hardship loans to be made available to help those tenants who are in arrears because of the pandemic.
Ahead of the winding down of the furlough scheme, the NRLA argues that such loans should be provided to eligible tenants interest free and ring-fenced solely to cover rent payments in order to give tenants security.
Beadle added: “When the courts do start to hear cases again, it is essential that they deal swiftly with the most serious cases, including those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or where there are long-standing rent arrears that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
“To offer security to tenants and landlords badly hit during the lockdown we are calling on the government to introduce a tenant loan scheme to help pay off arrears built due to the coronavirus.”