A prominent PropTech figure says agents have a key role in reducing evictions in the short term - and he suggests they appoint a dedicated specialist to advise landlords.
Neil Cobbold, a high profile industry commentator and chief sales officer at automated payment service PayProp, says the end of the eviction ban this week is a welcome milestone for landlords but represents an opportunity for agents to prove their worth.
He says agents must ensure landlords understand new notice periods set by the government; these include a six-month notice period for the majority of repossessions, alongside shorter periods of two weeks to three months for the most serious and urgent issues.
“The new evictions system is more complex than before, with landlords seeking to repossess a property through the courts due to rent arrears required to provide information relating to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on tenants” he says.
“Agents will need to remind landlords that repossessing a property through the courts is not to be taken lightly and should be considered a last resort – while also being prepared to assist with the changing process where necessary” Cobbold adds.
At the same time, he continues, agents will play a crucial part in helping landlords to reduce the need for evictions caused by rent arrears. They can do this through organising affordable repayment plans, digitally recording all payments and automating arrears chasing.
”Because of the length and complexity of the new eviction process, agencies will need a dedicated eviction expert to help them navigate it” he concludes.
Over the summer Cobbold warned landlords and agents that he believed arrears could rise this autumn.
He put this down to three reasons - the winding down of the furlough scheme, the possibility of further redundancies as thew Coronavirus fall-out continues, and the possibility that tenants would be spending more as a result of lockdown restrictions easing.