Research by lettings and estate agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed that the vast majority of tenants welcome the extension to evictions announced at the weekend, despite many seeing little impact on their ability to pay the rent.
Monday should have marked the end of the eviction ban timeline, however, the decision to extend it further means eviction notices will not be served for another six weeks across England and Wales, following a similar move by Scotland at the end of last week.
Barrows and Forrester surveyed 1,144 current UK tenants and 992 current UK landlords on their thoughts regarding the ban and its extension.
76% of tenants stated they wanted to see the ban on evictions reviewed and extended further, while 43% of landlords, perhaps understandably, believe that it should not have been extended.
However, it would seem that financial factors aren’t the predominant issue surrounding the ban on tenant evictions. 46% of UK tenants stated that they have not seen their financial situation worsen as a result of the pandemic.
However, in Northern Ireland, 67% of tenants stated they are worse off as a result of the current pandemic, with tenants in the West Midlands (50%), East Midlands (48%) and Greater London (47%) also struggling more than most.
Just 18% of tenants stated that they have struggled or failed to pay the rent during the pandemic although this increases to 28% of tenants in Wales, 27% in Northern Ireland and 21% in Scotland and the West Midlands.
In addition, just 23% of landlords surveyed stated that they have seen their level of rental income reduce due to the pandemic and just 12% of landlords stated that they had been unable to evict a tenant during the pandemic.
Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented: “The ban on tenant evictions is a delicate subject and both sides of the argument have valid reasons for wanting to see the ban either extended or lifted.
Financial reasons brought on by the pandemic are no doubt a factor, with nearly half of tenants seeing their financial situation worsen due to the pandemic.
However, a far smaller proportion have struggled to pay their rent and many landlords have also seen their rental income sustained which is good news for all of those operating within the sector.
There are also those that are using the current eviction ban as an excuse to avoid paying rent and while this is a very small proportion of tenants, it still poses a serious headache for landlords. Thankfully the government has now allowed landlords to include any unpaid rent accrued since the start of the pandemic to be included within the six month time frame at which point they can start eviction proceedings.
Of course, the ban itself poses a far more serious issue for some. Financial reasons aside, many of the most serious cases will be due to domestic violence or anti-social behaviour.
It’s fair to say that in these instances the government should not be protecting tenants from eviction, so it’s reassuring to see that these should continue to be considered on a case by case basis.
Landlords are the backbone of the rental market and all things considered, much more needs to be done to support them during this tough period.”