London mayor accused of scaremongering over eviction fears

17 August 2020 | Renting

London mayor accused of scaremongering over eviction fears

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of causing needless fear for renters by claiming all those in arrears due to Coronavirus are at risk of eviction.

The accusation comes from the National Residential Landlords Association which says Khan has claimed up to a quarter of tenants are in arrears and under threat of eviction.

With the courts due to begin again to hear possession cases from next Monday following a five month suspension, the NRLA is pointing to new polling showing that 95 per cent  of tenants in London are either paying their rent in full or have reached an arrangement with their landlord to avoid arrears. 

This includes 83 per cent who are paying their rent in full and on time. 

For the remaining 12 per cent landlords have agreed for tenants to pay less rent or defer payment during the pandemic.

The association has written to the Mayor calling for a greater collaboration between him and private landlords. 

It is also calling for an end to the rhetoric which it says is stoking up tensions between tenants and landlords when what is needed is a spirit of partnership and understanding between both sides.

New rules being introduced will mean courts can adjourn possession cases where landlords have failed to demonstrate that they have fully taken account of the impact that the pandemic might have had on their tenants before seeking possession.

“This has clearly been a challenging time for tenants and landlords across London. It is not in anyone’s interests to cause unnecessary anxiety for tenants through making wild predictions about people losing their home” explains Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA.

“The vast majority of tenants and landlords are working well together to weather the current crisis. With new court rules in place, it will be in the interests of landlords to do everything they can to sustain tenancies where possible.

“It is that spirit of co-operation that we need to build upon.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.