NRLA urges courts to distinguish between COVID and non-COVID related cases as Shelter calls for judges to halt automatic evictions when the ban ends next month
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has moved to quell fears that thousands of renters will lose their home when the evictions ban ends on 23rd August.
It says landlords will do all they can to sustain tenancies and that the vast majority have been working hard to keep tenants in their homes. The association is responding to research from Shelter that 3% of private renters have fallen into arrears since the start of the pandemic, meaning they could lose their homes.
Based on a survey of 1,058 private renters, it reports that 1% of private tenants have been given a formal eviction notice by their landlord or letting agent, while 2% have been threatened with eviction. However, its survey also shows that 12% of landlords have offered their tenants general reassurance while 7% assured them they could stay.
NRLA policy director Chris Norris says that it’s important to distinguish between tenants affected by COVID-19 and those who were building rent arrears before lockdown, sometimes for several months – and sometimes wilfully. “When the courts re-start hearing possession cases the latter should be the priority along with instances where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse,” adds Norris.
He points to one landlord who had to begin evictions proceedings in January against one of his tenants due to the non-payment of rent. ‘Peter’ says of his tenant: “He has continually been anti-social, paid little rent. This tenant is aware that eviction is not possible until an order is made and bailiffs attend. He is hiding and protected behind all COVID laws.” Shelter wants the Government to give judges the powers they need to halt automatic evictions. Says chief executive Polly Neate: “The Housing Secretary promised no-one would lose their home because of coronavirus. Unless he acts now, he will break his promise, and put thousands of renters at risk of homelessness.”