The evictions ban has been extended to 23 August. The government made the announcement on Friday, as it came under increasing pressure to rollout further emergency measures to help renters beyond the original 29 June deadline.
This is great news for tenants facing financial hardship and we welcome the move to give renters certainty and security. But allowing them more time to repay arrears directly impacts landlords who may themselves be struggling to pay the bills.
Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform PlanetRent, comments: “With all the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the government from evictions if they have not been furloughed or risk losing their job through no fault of their own. However, we believe there must be genuine fairness in the government’s approach and this initiative must be balanced by proving that tenants’ income has gone down.
“One concern is that many landlords are retired. According to the English Private Landlord survey retired people account for 33% of landlords. They may not have a mortgage to claim a repayment holiday on, relying on their property for income – and without rent or furlough monies coming in, they may struggle to make ends meet. So it is vital that tenants do not use the extended eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or to withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation,” says Mary-Anne.
At Ringley, we continue to press the point to our clients that tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for all of us. Recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association points to the fact that this is already largely the case, with the majority of landlords trying to work with their tenants to resolve issues such as rent arrears.
Longer-term, we think the government may need to consider other ways of financially supporting households post-crisis. For example, through higher housing benefit payments. Clearly, the high cost of the furlough scheme means it cannot last indefinitely. Some renters may need extended financial assistance from the government but cancelling rents or getting the government to pay would ultimately be hugely damaging. What do you think?
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