Personal Law

Coronavirus biggest concern for rental sector

Estimated read time: 2 mins

Carrie Tennick, September 22, 2020

Coronavirus has caused concern among both private rental tenants and landlords about the ability of renters to pay their rent now and in the future.

According to the latest State of the Industry Report by property technology firm Goodlord, two-thirds of property professionals have seen rent arrears increase as a direct result of the pandemic.

The report also found that one-quarter of tenants had missed rent payments, had to make alternative arrangements to pay rent or were worried about the impact Covid-19 could have on their ability to pay rent in the future.

Impact of coronavirus

Goodlord surveyed more than 350 property professionals – including estate agents, property managers and landlords – and over 2,750 private rental tenants to produce its report.

The report revealed that the main concern of property professionals this year was the ongoing impact of the virus, with 47% of those surveyed naming this as a worry.

In comparison, Goodlord found at the beginning of 2020 that Brexit was a major concern, with 20% worried about its effect. That number fell to just 2% following the virus outbreak.

Goodlord’s research found that 11% of the tenants surveyed said they did not think their current income was secure. A further 17% said they were neither optimistic nor pessimistic about their income.

The virus has also had an impact on where tenants want to live. The report found that 27% of the tenants surveyed said they had considered moving as a direct result of Covid-19, with 24% of those respondents wanting to move to another part of the country.

Evictions beginning again

The number of property managers and landlords issuing Section 8 and Section 21 eviction notices saw a slight rise over the past 12 months, according to the research.

This is despite a government ban on all housing possession action, which came to an end on 20 September. Although tenants could be served with eviction notices, no action could be taken to remove them from properties during the ban.

Chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association Ben Beadle said: “After a six month ban on repossessions it is important that landlords can start to take action to tackle the most serious cases.

“This includes those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence and situations where rent arrears were building before lockdown and have nothing to do with Covid-19.”

Private rents increasing

The Goodlord research and the eviction ban conclusion have come as the Office for National Statistics reported that private rents in the UK rose by 1.5% in the year to August 2020.

England saw a rise of 1.5%, Wales 1.4% and Scotland 0.5% in that period. Northern Ireland saw a higher increase of 2.4%. In London, private rental prices rose by 1.3%.

The ONS revealed that across the UK, private rents have increased by 9.5% since January 2015.

Across the UK, landlords and tenants are concerned about the future and the impact coronavirus will have. If you are struggling with a dispute or other housing problem and need help from a property solicitor, First4Lawyers could help.

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