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Housing Hand warns of increasing unsustainability of using landlords to support non-paying tenants

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand is speaking out on behalf of landlords who are suffering at the hands of the government’s eviction ban. The legislation has been designed to protect tenants who have suffered financial loss as a result of the Covid pandemic. However, in so doing, it is creating an increasingly difficult situation for many landlords. Some are facing not just losing their investment properties but their homes as well.

“The intentions of the eviction ban to protect individual tenants are excellent, but the situation unfortunately doesn’t take all those involved in the rental transaction into account. The financial impact of tenants who can’t afford to pay on landlords is devastating.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The clock is certainly ticking. According to research by LSE London and Trust for London, the number of private tenants in rent arrears in England could treble in the coming year. That could mean as many as 700,000 tenants – and their landlords – in financial difficulty.

Housing Hand points out that letting agents, too, are suffering Letting agents receive a percentage of a property’s rent as a management fee, but 15% of £0 is £0. This means that there is a limit to how long agents, as well as landlords, can continue to operate with a reduced income. Client Money Protect reported at the end of 2020 that lettings agencies were closing at a rate of ten per week. Housing Hand believes that around 4% of all letting agencies closed their doors for good during the year.

The eviction ban is currently due to run until 21 February but has the potential to be extended in line with continuing lockdown restrictions. Such a move would mean that landlords, and the letting agents whose businesses they support, could face further weeks or even months of financial struggle. For those with mortgage payments to cover, the situation is increasingly unsustainable.