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1 in 4 private tenants are concerned about how they will pay, as two-thirds of property professionals report a rise in rental arrears.

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  • One in four private tenants are concerned about how they will pay their rent in the coming months as a ban on evictions comes to an end.

    A quarter of people renting in the private sector have either already missed a payment, had to make alternative arrangements with their landlord, or are worried how they will pay their rent in future due to Covid-19.

    At the same time, two-thirds of property professionals have seen an increase in rental arrears as a result of the pandemic, according to property technology group Goodlord.

    The findings come as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asked to be given powers to introduce a two-year freeze on rent increases in the capital to help prevent widespread evictions.

    Why is this happening?

    Lockdown and the associated impact it had on people’s earnings has left many tenants financially stretched

    To help renters through this period, the government imposed a three-month ban on tenant evictions that was originally due to end on June 25, but was extended twice to finish on September 20.

    While in the majority of cases landlords are still required to give tenants six months’ notice before they evict them, the end of the ban is expected to lead to a high number of people losing their home.

    Who does it affect?

    Research carried out by the Greater London Authority suggests up to 550,000 private renters in the capital have either already fallen behind with their rent or think they are likely to do so in the months ahead.

    A study by housing charity Shelter also found that an estimated 322,000 people renting in the private sector had fallen into rent arrears since the pandemic started, while 174,000 tenants have been threatened with eviction even while the ban is still in place.

    These numbers are expected to increase as the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end in October.

    What’s the background?

    The Mayor of London has written to the secretary of state for housing, Robert Jenrick, asking to be given powers to freeze rents for both new and existing private sector tenants for two years, although landlords can still reduce rents during this period.

    The two-year freeze could be extended if the economic outlook does not improve during this period.

    Khan has also called on the government to introduce a wider package of measures to support renters. This includes grants to enable them to stay in their homes and clear any rent arrears, expanding access to welfare and increasing the Local Housing Allowance to median market rents, and ending section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as soon as possible.

    Top three takeaways

    • One in four private tenants are concerned about how they will pay their rent in the coming months as a ban on evictions comes to an end

    • Two-thirds of property professionals have seen an increase in rental arrears as a result of the pandemic

    • The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has asked to be given powers to introduce a two-year freeze on rent increases to help prevent widespread evictions.

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