With the end of the moratorium on residential tenancy eviction, reports of tenants losing their homes feature almost daily in the press. However, a survey of 4,000 landlords has led buy-to-let specialist Sequre Property Investment to suggest that the tide of pandemic-related rental arrears may be starting to turn.
Their research suggests around one in five landlords have experienced rental arrears since the beginning of the pandemic. In 27% of those cases, total arrears have reached no more than one month’s rent, with a further 23% between one and two months’ rent. But half of landlords with defaulting tenants have faced greater arrears.
While 36% have seen arrears remaining the same since the height of the pandemic, 37% report a reduction. Conversely, in 28% of cases, arrears have increased.
Sales Director at Sequre Property Investment, Daniel Jackson, said “The pandemic has been problematic for tenant and landlord alike but while the nation’s tenants have been afforded a great deal of government protection, little has been done to aid those landlords facing a backlog of unpaid rent. With the government all but blocking the ability to evict tenants who can’t pay, the only option on the table has been to sit tight and wait for this storm of rental arrears to blow over.
“The good news is that many now seem to be weathering this storm and having shown faith in their tenants during hard times, the majority of landlords are now starting to have this faith repaid in the form of overdue rent.
“Of course, there are some tenants who are not yet out of the woods, as well as those who seek to take advantage of the system, but the rental market certainly seems to be rebounding in the right direction.”
Eviction ban UK
With the lifting of the eviction ban, landlords have faced significant backlogs in the court system. The requirement for longer notice periods has also continued.
Between 1st June and 31st July 2021, a notice period of at least 4 months was required in most cases. However, from 1st August 2021, the notice period for cases with less than four months of unpaid rent was reduced to 2 months.
In some instances, shorter notice periods apply. These are where:
- the tenant has died – 2 months’ notice;
- there are four months of accumulated rent arrears – 4 weeks’ notice;
- there has been anti-social behaviour – from immediate to 4 weeks’ notice;
- there has been domestic abuse in the social sector – 2 to 4 weeks’ notice;
- there has been a breach of immigration rules under the ‘Right to Rent‘ scheme – 2 weeks’ notice;
- there has been a false statement – 2 to 4 weeks’ notice.
The Government has said that subject to the progress of their roadmap, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1st October 2021. However, with the devolved administration in Wales announcing yesterday that the requirement for 6 months’ notice will be extended again, this time to 31st December 2021, the eyes of landlords and tenants alike turn to Westminster to see whether there will be any movement in England.