Rent arrears means more tenants will fail referencing

Steve Lumley·7 June 2021·4 min read
Rent arrears means more tenants will fail referencing

One landlords' association is warning that more than 200,000 renters who have racked up rent arrears may now fail tenant referencing.

This means that renters will find it increasingly difficult to find alternative rental accommodation because their credit scores will have been affected.

The warning comes from the National Residential Landlords' Association (NRLA) who have carried out a survey.

Of the 2,000 tenants they questioned, they say 7% of them have built-up rent arrears since the pandemic began 15 months ago.

Of those tenants in arrears, 25% say that their landlord has sought a court order to reclaim what they are owed - but this then damaged the tenant's credit score.

Average amount owed in rent arrears

The average amount owed in rent arrears is £900, but 30% of tenants owe at least £1,000.

The NRLA also says that more than 80% of those in arrears currently, were not in arrears when the pandemic began.

Also, most of those tenants will not qualify for emergency housing support from their local council.

Ben Beadle, the NRLA's chief executive, said: "The Chancellor has failed to provide tenants with the support that is needed, especially for the majority in rent arrears who will not qualify for benefit support."

The managing director of Accommodation for Students, Simon Thompson, said: "This is a worrying situation for landlords who have tenants in arrears - they need to reclaim the rent they are owed, and this illustrates why the government needs to step in with a financial package that helps both landlords and their tenants."

Landlords must use new tenancy forms

Landlords in England must use new tenancy forms that have been released by the Government for assured and secure tenancies - or risk having processes, including possession, deemed invalid.

The new tenancy forms have been introduced because of the reduced notice period which has fallen to four months, from six months previously.

The notice periods for serious cases are also shorter:

· Notice for anti-social behaviour: Immediate to four weeks' notice

· Notice for rent arrears of more than four months: Four weeks’ notice

· Notice for domestic abuse in the social housing sector: Between two and four weeks

· Notice for breaching Right to Rent immigration rules: Two weeks' notice

· Notice for making a false statement: Between two and four weeks.

The notice period for those tenants with less than four months of rent arrears, will be changed to two months' notice.

Arla Propertymark is advising all members and letting agents to update their current systems with the Government's new tenancy forms .