The UK Association of Letting Agents trade body is warning of “widespread evictions” unless government support is offered to tenants.
UKALA chairman Tim Clark says: “The restrictions on evictions during the last year, whilst very appropriate for the time, could result in an explosive situation without the government providing more support to tenants.
“Landlord mortgage payments still need to be made and rent arrears will still exist. Without more support to tenants, as has been done elsewhere, there will be widespread evictions, leaving many tenants in impossible positions.
“The government has effectively kicked the can down the road on this one. Currently, potential evictions are merely being postponed, but tangible help for tenants could help avoid them and the distress they bring,”
UKALA’s recent Spring survey of its letting agent members revealed that over 50 per cent of their client landlords do not intend to increase their portfolios and 40 per cent are actually planning to reduce their portfolios.
The association says this is worrying because in the absence of appropriate volumes of social housing, the private rental sector is being relied upon to prevent a housing shortage and homelessness.
Clark continues: “This situation, suggesting a possible reduction in the size of the private rental sector, adds a further potential squeeze on top of the evictions boiling pot.
“Unfortunately the government has yet to recognise that, without help, tenants may not be able to rent again. An eviction, due to rent arrears, can affect a tenant’s credit rating, virtually precluding them from renting again in the PRS.
“This is one area where government urgently needs to organise support for tenants to avoid evictions, perhaps by giving interest free loans”.
Membership of UKALA is currently over 1,100.