Agents may struggle to get many tenants through referencing following the Covid pandemic, landlords in England and Wales have warned.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) estimates that some 210,000 tenants may face severe difficulties when being referenced and that many landlords may therefore refuse to let properties to them.
This figure is based on a poll of some 2,000 private renters which revealed that 7% have built up rent arrears since March 2020.
A quarter of those with arrears said that their landlord had attempted to reclaim these by seeking a court order.
Such orders, where successful, damage a tenant’s credit score – an outcome which makes it for harder for them to access new housing in the future.
The data, compiled by research consultancy Dynata, reveals that the average amount of rent owed by those in arrears during the pandemic is now almost £900.
The figures also show that over 80 per cent of renters now in arrears were not behind on their rent payments when the pandemic began. 30 per cent of those who are presently in arrears now owe £1,000 or more.
“As the private rented sector moves out of lockdown measures, the Chancellor has failed to provide tenants with the support they need. This is especially the case for the majority of those in rent arrears who do not qualify for benefit support,” says Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA (pictured).
“Without urgent assistance, many tenants face the prospect of losing their home needlessly as landlords struggle to shoulder the cost of arrears. Affected tenants also potentially face the negative impact of damage to their credit scores.”