Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action has called for government help after the introduction of another lockdown.

In Scotland and Wales tenants can get a Tenant Hardship Loan Fund to cover months of rent.

Shamplina said: “This is an exceptionally difficult situation for everyone and as before it is vital that tenants who are genuinely impacted by the pandemic are protected from losing their home.

“Echoing calls from the NRLA, the government should be following Scotland and Wales and providing access to a Tenant Hardship Loan Fund to prevent further possession action.

“However, it should not be a case of protecting tenants over landlords or vice versa, it should be about protecting people.

“We now have a situation where some landlords have rent arrears cases which started in 2019 and they still do not have possession of their property, nor are they receiving any rent. Some of these landlords have also lost jobs and are trying to cover mortgages.”

He added: “Landlords are desperate for some kind of timescale. The reality is that the ban on evictions will now continue throughout lockdown, and it could even be April or May before bailiffs are able to enforce evictions, depending on what kind of restrictions or tier systems are put in place in Spring. All the while, caseloads are increasing but old cases are not being cleared.

“Since the property market remains open for people to move home and Courts are still operating, it should be made possible for pre-Covid eviction cases to proceed. If something is not done soon to alleviate the mounting pressure on landlords, the market will experience a surge of illegal evictions and landlords selling with tenants in situ.”

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