Looking back on 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened debate about the future of the rental market and how to strike the balance between the rights and responsibilities of landlords and their tenants.
Despite many landlords going the extra mile to keep tenants in their homes throughout the pandemic, data shows landlords have lost up to £437m so far, some landlords are now struggling to keep their heads above water themselves. As a result of this, the NRLA campaigned for a comprehensive financial package from Government to support the sector and allow tenants to pay off rent arrears built because of the pandemic and we continue to push for this.
This year we also launched our proposals for the Renters’ Reform Bill, the central feature of our plan is to provide clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords may legitimately regain possession of their properties. We recognise the urgent need to improve the way that courts handle possession cases. At present they take too long. Our plans would help to reduce the number of cases going to the courts, ensuring they can more swiftly hear and decide upon the ones that do arise. For landlords, our plans would ensure cases could be fast-tracked through the courts where tenants failed to abide by whatever was agreed during conciliation, or where tenants failed to properly engage with the process.
As we go into 2021 we continue to help and support landlords through these most unprecedented times and campaign for a positive change. We expect to see some movement, not least on the Renters’ Reform Bill, which will see the Government eventually abolish Section 21 repossessions. We will be working alongside the Government to ensure that its replacement is a fair system that works for and protects landlords and ensures landlords have the confidence to provide the homes to rent the country so desperately needs.