There’s a surging number of cases of landlords trying to recover rent from tenants who exploited the eviction ban, eviction specialist Landlord Action said.
The firm has seen a rapid rise of landlords asking to use their debt recovery service, as instructions between April 2021 and March 2022 were up by 180% compared to the pre-pandemic year, April 2019 to March 2020.
Due to the eviction ban the value of rent arrears is higher than before, as some tenants have used the eviction ban to avoid paying rent, even when they could have afforded to.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action and commercial officer at the Hamilton Fraser Group, said: “We currently have hundreds of live debt recovery cases, ranging from a few thousand pounds right up to one where the arrears have reached £200,000.
“Admittedly, this is an extremely rare case, but what many of our cases have in common is that the tenants had the means to pay. For example, one case is against a practising doctor who owes £42,000.”
While some landlords have chosen to forgo some rent during the height of the pandemic – especially when tenants legitimately couldn’t afford to pay – many aren’t able to write up such large sums of money.
Some 4% of private tenants told the English Housing Survey 2020-21 that they were in rent arrears.
When judges grant possession they will look into what the landlord is owed by the tenant.
The tenant will then be ordered to pay the amount owed, as well as the cost of taking them to court, while they will be issued with a County Court Judgement.
If renters continue not paying the landlord can use a debt recovery company like Landlord Action.
The Money Judgment is not registered as a CCJ on the Register of CCJ’s Court Orders and Fines until the landlord attempts to enforce the judgement.
Shamplina added: “If there are substantial arrears and the tenant is employed with a steady level of income, therefore has the means to pay, but has simply stopped paying, it is worth pursuing the money that is legally and rightfully owed to the landlord.
“There are many ways to enforce an outstanding debt such as appointing a High Court Bailiff who can seize goods, apply for a Third-Party Debt Order (freeze bank account) or apply for an order for an attachment of earnings. If a landlord wishes to seize goods on the eviction date this can only be done if a High Court Bailiff is appointed.”