It might seem like something of a ‘shocking’ headline to some, but the truth is that many landlords throughout the UK are effectively being held to ransom right now, by troublesome tenants and rolling deadline extensions.
The whole coronavirus crisis has hit the letting market hard, but it isn’t renters that have been hit the hardest, it’s the landlords.
Because when evictions were banned back in March, they were banned whether or not the reasons for those evictions were due to the pandemic.
Many were of course, and we should at least be thankful that many vulnerable people will still have a roof over their head due to the emergency legislation, even after losing jobs or enduring bereavement.
But...and it is a big but...
...there are many tenants who have used the evictions ban as a mere excuse to forego rent, or even to vandalise the properties they inhabit, whilst the property owners have been forced to stand by and watch their investment go up in metaphorical flames.
In Scotland, it was announced recently, that the evictions ban would be extended for another 6 months, whilst in England, it has been extended for 4 weeks initially, the second time it has been extended.
This could be catastrophic to an industry that is already on its knees, as landlords have found themselves having to pay mortgages, cover service charges and carry out maintenance, without being able to recover any rent on the properties.
Essentially, many landlords have just been haemorrhaging money throughout the last 5 months, unable to serve any kind of notice, or enforcement on tenants who have clearly had no intention of paying outstanding rent, or who found themselves in difficult circumstances long before the arrival of COVID-19.
Now, no one is expecting the public to suddenly develop a new found sympathy for landlords, as that just isn’t going to happen, but the bigger picture has to be taken into consideration.
A sizeable proportion of private landlords will undoubtedly be forced to sell their properties at the end of all this, when they are eventually able to evict their tenants. This will leave a future shortfall in affordable housing for those who desperately need access to it.
It’s a vicious cycle that shows no sign of ending in the near future, especially when the backlog of evictions, thought to be heading towards 30, 000 right now, eventually get the go ahead to begin proceedings.
There’s an old saying that goes something like...
“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone...”
...and at #TeamCES, we get the feeling that this could very soon be the way the British public feel about landlords.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!