A leading market commentator and PropTech chief says the extension of the bailiff-enforced eviction ban was predictable, but presents agents with an opportunity.
Last weekend the ban was extended in England and Wales, a day after Scotland added extra time to its ban.
Now Neil Cobbold, chief sales officer at automated payment platform PayProp, says: “Although the ban [in England] will be reviewed in late February, it could well be extended further, particularly if the tightest Covid-19 restrictions are still in place.
“A further ban on evictions prevents landlords from removing tenants during a challenging period – and landlords with tenants in serious arrears will be disappointed to see their repossession options limited again with little to no financial support to cover their lost income” he adds.
“However, eviction action is only being deferred. As well as antisocial behaviour or domestic violence, landlords can now seek eviction when arrears total more than six months’ rent – an amount that now includes arrears that have built up since the beginning of the first lockdown.”
Cobbold has repeated his earlier calls for lettings agencies to seize the opportunity and nominate key staff to help landlords navigate the latest evictions ban by making them aware of the new rules, helping them to organise affordable repayment plans and keeping a digital record of all payments to assist with future eviction cases.
This would not only provide landlords with access to a dedicated evictions specialist as a last resort for when the ban is lifted, but also show the longer-term value of agents to landlords in the increasingly-complex regulatory lettings world.