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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s warning of a ‘devastating tsunami of evictions’ when the current ban on possession claims ends next week, have been branded as ‘unnecessary scaremongering’ by the National Residential Landlords’ Association.
‘We are deeply concerned at the unnecessary scaremongering that suggests that every tenant in rent arrears is automatically at threat of eviction’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle, in an open letter to the Mayor.
‘This is not the case and serves only to cause needless anxiety for tenants, stoking up tensions between them and their landlord. Furthermore, we have not found any evidence to justify claims of up to a quarter of tenants being in arrears’.
According to NRLA polling 83 per cent of tenants in London are paying their rent in full and on time. A further 12 per cent have reached agreement with their landlords to pay less rent or defer payment during the pandemic.
Beadle’s letter repeats an NRLA call for a targeted financial package to help those tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of COVID-19. It also calls for discussions between the NRLA and the Mayor’s office on ‘how best to proceed in a spirit of co-operation rather than hostility’.
NRLA points out that from 24 August when courts start hearing possession claims again, new rules come into effect that will require landlords seeking possession to provide more information about their tenants’ situation and how it has been affected by the Coronavirus crisis. This means landlords have an added incentive to try to reach agreement with tenants on how to handle arrears before seeking to repossess a property.
‘This has clearly been a challenging time for tenants and landlords across London. It is not in anyone’s interests to cause unnecessary anxiety for tenants through making wild predictions about people losing their home’, said Beadle.
‘The vast majority of tenants and landlords are working well together to weather the current crisis. With new court rules in place, it will be in the interests of landlords to do everything they can to sustain tenancies where possible.
‘It is that spirit of co-operation that we need to build upon’.