Around 19 in every 20 private sector tenants are paying their rent as usual or have agreed with their landlord to pay a lower rent or defer payments during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.
The findings, released by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), indicate that 87% of private tenants across England and Wales have paid their rent as normal throughout the pandemic.
An additional 8% said that they had agreed a reduced rent, a rent-free period or had made some other agreement with their landlord or letting agent.
The NRLA commissioned researchers to carry out the survey of more than 2,240 tenants between July 20 and August 4.
The landlords’ body said that, ahead of courts starting to hear repossession cases from August 24, the survey found that just over 3% of tenants are building arrears that they cannot or will not repay.
The NRLA has developed guidance with other groups to support landlords and tenants to agree how to deal with rent arrears and sustain tenancies where possible.
It is also calling for Government-guaranteed hardship loans to be made available to help tenants who are in arrears because of the pandemic.
Ahead of the winding down of the furlough scheme, the NRLA argued that such loans should be provided to eligible tenants interest-free and ring-fenced solely to cover rent payments.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA said: “Consistent with our previous surveys, this latest data demonstrates that the vast majority of landlords and tenants are working together to sustain tenancies, and critically that the overwhelming majority of tenants are paying rent as normal.
“Eviction is not, and need not be, an inevitable outcome where tenants have struggled to pay their rent due to Covid-19.”
He continued: “When the courts do start to hear cases again, it is essential that they deal swiftly with the most serious cases, including those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or where there are long-standing rent arrears that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
“To offer security to tenants and landlords badly hit during the lockdown we are calling on the Government to introduce a tenant loan scheme to help pay off arrears built due to the coronavirus.”