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News: Sharp rise in rent arrears as eviction cases surge

Mon, 29 Jun 20

Rent arrears have increased to more than £3m, with almost 2,500 eviction cases waiting to go through the courts, according to The Lettings Industry Council.  

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed significantly to the surge in rent arrears as many tenants face financial hardship.

Research by housing charity Shelter suggests that one in five renters in England are likely to lose their job within the next three months. 

Despite the spike in rent arrears, this will not lead to a hike in immediate evictions. 

Landlords are still unable to start proceedings to evict tenants for the foreseeable future, following the initial decision to ban evictions in mid-March.

 

The two-month extension, announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick, means that evictions will not be heard in court until August 23 at the earliest.

The government says the aim of the moratorium is to continue to provide renters who have been financially affected by Covid-19 with security and certainty around their living situation.

Franz Doerr, founder and CEO of flatfair, commented: “The figures from The Lettings Industry Council do not come as a great surprise but underline the threat that coronavirus poses to the rental market.

“Renters do not have as much breathing room to cut back on spending, leaving them vulnerable to economic shocks.

“Many tenants have been hit hard financially, either through being furloughed or losing their job altogether and this adds to the financial pressure that they may already be under.

“More action needs to be taken to support tenants and landlords alike to communicate, and ensure that a fair equitable solution is found in the unfortunate cases where a tenant cannot pay their rent."

 

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