The number of landlords seeking the services of a leading eviction and housing law specialist rose by 180% during the pandemic.
According to the company Landlord Action, the value of UK rent arrears is currently at an all-time high. However, many landlords believe that tenants have used coronavirus restrictions to avoid paying their rent, even though they could afford to.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action said: “We currently have hundreds of live debt recovery cases, ranging from a few thousand pounds right up to one where the arrears have reached £200,000. Admittedly, this is an extremely rare case, but what many of our cases have in common is that the tenants had the means to pay. For example, one case is against a practising doctor who owes £42,000.”
Landlords have also reported that, while previously they may have written off some arrears, many can no longer afford to do so. An the English Housing Survey 2020-21 four per cent of private renters said they were in arrears equating to 52,000 people.
Landlord, Philip Robinson’s tenants stopped paying rent in October 2019, four months before the first lockdown, despite having a substantial sum in the bank. He said: “The tenants purchased a property, renovated it and managed to pay the mortgage, all whilst living in my property for free. If more tenants like this knew there would be repercussions, such as a County Court Judgement, I believe they would cooperate much earlier in the proceedings.”
Once a judge has granted possession, they will look at the arrears and order that the tenant pays the amount owed including costs and interest. The tenant will then be issued with a County Court Judgement. If the tenant does not pay the money owed, the landlord can then move to enforcement action.
Read more about this story on the Property Wire