Pandemic restrictions cause a squeeze in the lettings industry
The UK Association of Letting Agents’ (UKALA) chairman, Tim Clark, has expressed his concern about the June easing of restrictions on tenant evictions in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).
He states: “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 wide spread 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% of their client landlords do not intend to increase their portfolios and a more concerning 40% are planning to decrease their portfolios. This is worrying, as without more social housing, the PRS is being relied upon to prevent a housing shortage and homelessness.
Tim Clark continues: “This situation, suggesting a possible reduction in the size of the PRS, 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”.
The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) is a professional membership body that supports its letting and management agents members to stay legally compliant and to be successful in an ever-changing regulatory environment.
Based in central London, it represents the interests of members across the UK, working with government on new legislation, in an advice capacity, and sits on many committees and policy input bodies.
UKALA membership is a single annual fee, based on the amount of client money a member business holds. It offers to improve standards through professional development and makes compliance easier by giving automatic membership of both a government-approved Client Money Protection scheme and an Independent Redress Scheme plus a range of commercial discounted benefits as well as advice services, publications, newsletters and documents.
UKALA is member-owned and run for the benefit of members. Membership is currently over 1100.