Triple uncertainty puts the brakes on international students’ plans to study in UK

Triple uncertainty puts the brakes on international students’ plans to study in UK

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand reports international students are “holding back”
  • Travel restrictions, potential double vaccination requirement and housing shortage all causes for concern
  • New immigration route provides option for international graduates to launch UK careers

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has raised concerns that international students, especially European students, are holding back their plans to come to the UK to study.

“We are working with many international students looking to study in the UK. However, the uncertainty around travel restrictions/quarantine requirements and what universities will be offering in terms of face to face, blended learning or virtual lectures is leading to some students holding back. The additional uncertainty over whether students will need to be double jabbed to attend lectures has created a further cause for concern for many of those due to start courses in the UK this autumn.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

Travel restrictions are the first hurdle to overcome. Changing rules around quarantine requirements are creating plenty of uncertainty and making it difficult for international students to plan ahead effectively, though the recent announcement around EU and US travellers not needing to quarantine if they have been double jabbed should help somewhat. There’s also the uncertainty of how easy it will be to return home for the holidays, once they’ve arrived in the UK to commence their studies.

“We’ve seen that when the guidance is clear, it leads to increased activity. When Portugal was added to the UK’s travel green list in May, we saw high demand from Portuguese students. They were second only to UK students in terms of applications here at Housing Hand for our rental guarantor services. International students need that level of clarity in order to plan ahead.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

Recent confusion over whether or not students will need to be double jabbed before they can attend lectures and stay in halls isn’t helping. Education Minster Vicky Ford has so far said that students won’t need to be fully vaccinated but also that being fully vaccinated, “is the way that they can have that freedom and confidence that they’ll be able to have that full university life.”

“This lack of clarity over the need to be fully vaccinated has thrown up another barrier to international students, who now have to worry about whether they will be allowed to attend lectures or stay in halls. Even for those who have had both jabs, there will be the worry of how they will be required to evidence this in a format that is acceptable to the UK authorities.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Despite all of this, UCAS has seen a record number of students – including mature students and those from overseas – apply for university places for the 2021/22 academic year. The total stands at 682,000 applicants, of whom 311,000 are UK 18-year-olds (another record, and an increase of 10% over the 281,000 who applied last year).

This creates a further issue for international students: housing. The UK has a well-documented shortage of housing for its growing population – a situation made worse by the pandemic.

“This year we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of rental homes coming onto the market. Would-be tenants are now faced with significantly less choice, which in turn is pushing up rents. And with many landlords having multiple offers on the table, half of investors have been able to increase the rent they charge.”

Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research, Hamptons

Add into the equation those landlords turning their properties into short-term lets to take advantage of the staycation boom, and questions quickly arise about precisely where these record numbers of students are going to live.

Housing Hand’s free House Finder Service at least goes some way to addressing this. The new service matches students with agents and landlords who are specifically seeking student renters, easing the process of finding accommodation in the UK. All of the agents accept Housing Hand as a guarantor, meaning that students won’t face the stumbling block of not having a guarantor when they find the property they want to rent.

For those international students who can overcome the hurdles of travel restrictions, potential double vaccination requirements and finding housing to access higher education in the UK, there is good news to look forward to when they graduate. As of 1 July 2021, a new immigration route means that international graduates can remain in the UK for up to two years to kickstart their careers.

Designed as a talent retention scheme, the graduate route doesn’t require applicants to have a job offer and there is no minimum salary. Graduates can switch jobs and work flexibly during their stay, providing plenty of potential to build their careers. There is also some Covid-related flexibility around when students must arrive in the UK, with those who start courses this autumn having until 6 April 2022 to arrive in the UK.

“The deadline extension sends out a strong message to those looking to complete their studies and launch their careers in the UK. Now the government just needs to boost that messaging by providing international students with the clarity and certainty they need in relation to travel, quarantine, vaccinations and housing – and it needs to do so fast.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

New House Finder Service makes renting easier for both tenants and landlords

New House Finder Service makes renting easier for both tenants and landlords

United Kingdom
  • Agents, landlords and tenants all benefitting from Housing Hand’s new service
  • Free to use platform is helping partner agents increase their revenue
  • Working professionals and students both eligible for free House Finder Service

Hot off the heels of the launch of its new partner portal, UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has revealed its new service to connect tenants and agents across the UK.

The free House Finder Service allows agents to set preferences for the kind of tenants they are seeking, such as students or working professionals. Those looking for accommodation can then register with the service to connect with agents and find the perfect property. All of the agents accept Housing Hand as a guarantor, meaning that tenants won’t face the stumbling block of not having a guarantor when they find the property they want to rent.

We wanted to take some of the pain out of the property finding experience. Searching for a new home can be a really stressful time, whether you’re moving in order to study somewhere or you’re a working professional simply looking to relocate. By providing a free service to connect renters with agents in a way that matches both parties’ requirements, we’re making renting easier.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand


Housing Hand’s partner agents are based around the UK. The company guarantees rent for more people in the UK than anyone else and works with more letting agents and landlords than any other company. The result is plenty of choice for tenants, while partner agents enjoy increased revenue through the delivery of potential leads.

Renters and agents can make direct connections through the House Finder Service, communicating within the platform or through the contact details that both parties provide.

“Every property that tenants find through the House Finder Service already accepts Housing Hand as a guarantor, so renters have additional peace of mind when using the service, as they know they won’t be dealing with requests for six or more months’ rent upfront. Agents have the peace of mind that comes from knowing their tenants will have a professional rental guarantor service in place. And a free lead is a free lead!”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

The House Finder Service is one of a range of new measures that Housing Hand has put in place to make renting easier for students and working professionals. The company provides a comprehensive knowledge base that serves to educate renters, landlords, universities and others about the role of guarantors. Its partner portal supports agents in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to increase revenue and reduce cost and risk through connecting with renters faster. Meanwhile, its Only My Share company ensures that renters won’t be liable for their housemates’ rent, if one member of the household doesn’t pay.

With the newly launched House Finder Service, Housing Hand has provided an additional tool to make renting easier for all concerned.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

New partner portal delivers multiple benefits for landlords and PBSA providers

New partner portal delivers multiple benefits for landlords and PBSA providers

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand reveals new portal, designed to reduce risk and increase revenue for accommodation providers
  • Partner portal is one of a number of new services being rolled out in 2021
  • Best-in-class solutions are raising the bar for rental guarantor services

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has launched a new partner portal to create a slicker onboarding experience for accommodation providers. The new feature supports providers to increase their revenue, by delivering more connections with potential tenants through Housing Hand’s House Finder Service, while decrease their costs thanks to the portals’ speedy process and ease of use.

Accommodation providers can also reduce their risk and enjoy peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that Housing Hand has paid out on 100% of all valid default claims over the past eight years.  

Housing Hand is the only award-winning provider of rental guarantor services in the UK. The trusted, insurance-backed company works with landlords, lettings agents, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) providers, universities and others to support students and professionals into rented accommodation. It does so by acting as a guarantor for the tenant, removing the barrier that the absence of a guarantor would otherwise present.

The new portal, which is packed with video explainers and interactive features, will make it easier and faster for accommodation providers to work in partnership with Housing Hand to ensure that their tenants won’t leave them out of pocket.

The benefits of using a rental guarantor service extend to all those involved in the rental transaction. By making the process of working with our guarantor service even easier, we are reducing friction and risk at the heart of the rental process. This will enable landlords and other accommodation providers to maximise their revenue, while tenants can enjoy long-term peace of mind.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand


Launched in early June, the new partner portal is one of a raft of new features being rolled out by the Housing Hand team in 2021, as part of the company’s significant growth during the pandemic. Newly appointed Head of Sales and Business Development James Maguire comments:

“We’re rolling out a range of improvements and new services over the course of this year, enhancing the user experience that accommodation providers and tenants have when they work with Housing Hand. We’re flexing the business in response to current and future market conditions, including addressing issues such as lifetime deposits and other aspects of the Renters’ Reform Bill. Watch this space for further developments!”

Landlords, letting agents, PBSA providers and universities are already benefitting from the new Housing Hand portal. As the country’s largest rental guarantor service, the company is keen to deliver best-in-class solutions for its partners, serving to raise the bar across the rental sector.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Property industry movers and shakers: James Maguire moves to new role at Housing Hand

Property industry movers and shakers: James Maguire moves to new role at Housing Hand

United Kingdom
  • Maguire will oversee strategic partnerships, alliances and sales
  • He joins just as Housing Hand launches revamped partner portal
  • Maguire’s 20 years’ experience, including at Rightmove and Reapit, will support Housing Hand’s growth strategy

Market-leading UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has announced the appointment of James Maguire as its new Head of Sales and Business Development. Maguire will oversee the delivery of Housing Hand’s strategic sales focus for the UK and Ireland, including building key partnerships and alliances to support market demand, as well as managing the company’s overall sales function.

Maguire brings 20 years’ experience of digital sales and marketing to the role. He has spent the last decade working in the property sector, including at Rightmove and Reapit.

“We are delighted to welcome James to the Housing Hand team and to such an important strategic role for the company over the coming years. We have an ambitious growth strategy, designed to support even more students and professionals into rental accommodation that would otherwise not be open to them – or only available with a vast deposit. James will play a key part in turning that vision into reality.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Based in London, Maguire’s new role will see him working with clients across the UK and Ireland. It will include building partnerships with a wide range of accommodation providers, including landlords, purpose built student accommodation providers, universities and letting agents.

“I am joining Housing Hand at a really exciting time for the business, with the launch of our innovative new partner portal, which will help accommodation providers have full visibility of the tenant journey through Housing Hand. This in turn will assist them letting properties quicker to students and working professionals, as well as giving them access to leads of active tenants looking for accommodation in their areas.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

Maguire will oversee Housing Hand’s experienced field sales and account manager teams, which focus on long-term partnerships with clients, with Housing Hand supporting their growth in letting both student and residential accommodation.

The pandemic has impacted the lettings market in multiple ways. One result is that an increasing number of tenants are in need of Housing Hand’s guarantor services, so I’m delighted to join the business at such an important time.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Universities reach out to rental guarantor services as in-person learning resumes

Universities reach out to rental guarantor services as in-person learning resumes

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand sees increase in universities exploring commercial arrangements
  • Universities being asked to do more with less, creating financial pressure points
  • Imbalance between returning students booking accommodation and first-years hesitating

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has reported an increase in the number of universities enquiring about commercial arrangements, as Covid-related pressures continue to impact the UK’s higher education sector. The increase speaks to the difficulties that universities are facing as they seek to do more with less, welcoming all students back to in-person learning from 17 May.

Universities have spent the last year in crisis mode. They have had to deal with multiple lockdowns, set up widescale home/virtual learning and manage the impact of students who have tested positive for Covid. All while dealing with the economic fallout of a lower intake of students for the 2021/22 academic year as Covid fears persist (mainly fewer EU and other international students, but also those from the UK).

Universities being overworked and under-resourced is nothing new. Budget cuts were already biting, even before the pandemic. However, Covid has exacerbated the financial difficulties that universities and their students face. Increasing rent relief bills are taking their toll and many universities are now seeking alternative ways to support their students to remain in their accommodation should they experience financial hardship.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

 
Many students struggle to provide a qualifying UK rent guarantor when renting in the private sector. Housing Hand partners with universities in order to help alleviate this issue for their students. The award-winning company acts as a rental guarantor service for students from the UK and overseas, covering rent, damages and dilapidations.

The university model enables higher education institutions to partner with Housing Hand as a white label service. The university promotes the service to its students, while Housing Hand provides integration, co-branded application pages with an affiliate link and marketing materials. Students pay a reduced fee for the Housing Hand service, while the university doesn’t need to worry about the admin side of the process.

“The way we work with universities provides a win-win. Students can access the rental guarantor service they need at a lower cost, while the university takes on no financial risk. The risk sits with Housing Hand, and is backed by quality and financially rated insurance products. With some unusual fluctuations in the usual student rental patterns due to Covid, this no-risk approach is inspiring increasing numbers of universities to investigate the role of rental guarantor services.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Although UK universities expect to re-open for in-house lessons this month, many students are hesitant to enrol for the 2021/22 academic year while Covid remains a threat. This is compounded for European students by Brexit for all international students by the current difficulties in moving between countries.

We can see this playing out across houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), where returning students have provided a steady stream of bookings. However, the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector has been a very low uptake of rooms by its traditional cohort of first years.

“As the UK’s vaccination programme progresses and confidence improves, it’s likely that there will be a last-minute dash for places. This will create a flurry of activity in the accommodation sector, as students rush to secure rooms with far less planning than would usually occur. With costs spiralling and high levels of debt, UK universities are already under significant pressure. They need to do all they can to accommodate a rush of last-minute enrolments, including helping students to find the accommodation they need.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Covid crisis highlights value of rental guarantor services

Covid crisis highlights value of rental guarantor services

United Kingdom
  • Rental guarantor services address key concerns for tenants, landlords and letting agents
  • Eviction ban end to result in further pain for landlords and tenants alike
  • Using personal guarantors now seen as even riskier than previously

The pandemic has seen tenants, landlords and letting agents all suffer in different ways as a result of Covid’s economic fallout. When the eviction ban ends on 31 May, that situation is likely to get worse – and not just for those tenants who have been unable to pay their rent. Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director of UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand, explains:

The delays in the courts for landlords looking to evict non-paying tenants are likely to be unprecedented, with the backlog of evictions having built up since the government first put the ban in place. This piles even more stress onto landlords who are already having to cover mortgages on properties that aren’t providing any income. It also means letting agents going without their cut of the rent for many more months while courts process the backlog. And for tenants, there’s the additional stress of falling even further behind with their rent while waiting to be taken to court. Everybody loses.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

While nobody saw the pandemic coming, there are plenty of lessons to be learned about risk avoidance for future major crises. One is the value of rental guarantor services. These are services that the tenant pays for to ensure that, should they become unable to pay their rent, it will still be paid: the guarantor company steps in and pays 100% of it for them. The tenant gets to keep their home, the landlord continues to receive an income and the lettings agency continues to receive its share.

The pandemic has also highlighted the value of rental guarantor services when compared with personal guarantors. Personal guarantors who were in a position to act as such at the outset of the pandemic may now be in very different financial situations. Relying on a personal guarantor for rent payments now carries much the same risk as relying on the tenant.

There are two other options available to landlords looking to ensure that non-payment of rent doesn’t lead to non-payment of their mortgage. One is rental insurance, where the landlord simply buys a policy, then makes a claim in the event of rent not being paid. The other is a company guarantor, which is where a company agrees to act as a guarantor for one of its employees. However, both of these models are flawed, according to Housing Hand’s Group Operations Director, Terry Mason:

“Insurance companies are known for not paying out on every claim. This has the potential to leave landlords unexpectedly out of pocket. Company guarantors, meanwhile, may be in very different financial positions than they were at the start of the pandemic, so carry risks of their own.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For tenants and landlords looking for maximum protection, rental guarantor services that are underwritten by an insurer offer the greatest peace of mind. Housing Hand, for example, is backed by Lloyds syndicate insurance. It delivers 100% pay-out and continues until the end of the tenancy.

While many landlords – and their letting agents and tenants – have missed out on the benefits of rental guarantor services during the pandemic, those looking for a reliable safety net in future have everything to gain.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Housing Hand highlights financial plight of international students, in face of 17% rent rise

Housing Hand highlights financial plight of international students, in face of 17% rent rise

United Kingdom
  • Brexit has quadrupled some course costs
  • Rents projected to rise by 17% over next 5 years
  • Students from EU/EEA and Switzerland can no longer apply for student loans

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has spoken out about the financial plight that international students are facing in the UK.  

Students coming to the UK from overseas are facing the perfect storm. Brexit has increased course costs hugely for those coming from the EU/EEA and Switzerland, at the same time as rents are projected to rise steeply. We’ve also got Erasmus funding ceasing, in addition to the withdrawal of student loan facilities. This is going to place a huge additional financial burden on many young people over the next few years.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

UCAS’ end of cycle analysis 2020 shows an increase of 1.7% in student numbers from the EU (excluding the UK) being accepted onto UK higher education courses between 2019 and 2020. Non-EU acceptance numbers rose by 16.9% over the same period.

Course costs for these international students are significantly higher than for UK-based students, whose fees are capped at £9,250 per academic year. Those coming to study here from overseas are often charged three to four times this amount, with costs varying based on the degree course and the university. Students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland had their fees capped in the same way, but from August 2021, that cap will no longer apply.

The UK’s withdrawal from the Erasmus funding programme after the end of the academic year in 2021 will add to the pain, as will the fact that students coming from the EU/EEA and Switzerland can no longer apply for student loans.

“It is the rising cost of renting accommodation in the UK that is really adding to students’ plight. While we’ve seen landlords offering lower rents over the past year, as a result of the pandemic, projections show that rents are set to increase significantly between now and 2025.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

It is Savills’ data that has flagged up the likelihood of rising rents. The company projects that rents across the UK will rise by 0.8% in 2021, then accelerate the pace at which they are increasing, with total growth of 17% by 2025. For students on limited budgets – those from the UK as well as from overseas – that means having to find even more cash to pay their way through university.

“The spiralling costs of higher education in the UK – including students’ accommodation – increasingly mean that only those from higher income families are likely to have the option to attend. This is particularly the case for international students, given the impact of Brexit on the cost of studying in the UK.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

How far will landlords and letting agents go to attract renters?

How far will landlords and letting agents go to attract renters?

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand data reveals 22% reduction in rents in the past year
  • Landlords and letting agents slash rents in many areas to entice tenants to move in
  • February marks 9th consecutive month of price falls

Newly released data from UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has revealed a sharp drop in rents as the pandemic continues to put pressure on the housing sector.

The largest rental guarantor service in the UK, Housing Hand is uniquely positioned to monitor market activity from the perspective of tenants, landlords and letting agents all at once. The company has saw average rental values (compared to a year earlier) begin to decline in June 2020, when rents dropped to 11% below their June 2019 level.

Rents have continued to fall in many areas ever since, with the data for February 2021 showing that rents are now 22% below the level they were at in February 2020.

We’ve seen average rents fall steadily for the past nine months. In big cities like London, where tenants have moved outward either because of fears over the pandemic or due to the fact that they no longer need to be near the office to work, this fall is even more pronounced.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The last two months of the year are usually the low season for landlords and letting agents. By October 2020, rental values were 14% below their level a year earlier. As such, many slashed rents even further in order to try and entice tenants to move in.

“As the pandemic continues to push people from city centres to their outskirts, rents in central areas are likely to drop even further. Not only are landlords and letting agents slashing prices in many areas, we’re seeing an increasing number of rental schemes offering one or even two months’ free rent in order to encourage tenants to sign on the dotted line. Again, this is particularly prevalent in city centres. It begs the question: how far will landlords and letting agents go to attract new tenants?”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly done much to turn the housing sector on its head, with government racing to introduce new initiatives to keep the market ticking over despite the painful economic backdrop. The eviction ban, in particular, has done much to protect tenants who can’t pay their rent. Unfortunately, it has also left many landlords unable to pay their mortgages. With rents now steadily declining in many areas, according to Housing Hand’s figures, it seems that the misery is far from over for both landlords and letting agents as 2021 unfolds.

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Domestic student demand for rental guarantor services up 12%, reports Housing Hand

Domestic student demand for rental guarantor services up 12%, reports Housing Hand

United Kingdom
  • 30% of students housed in private rented accommodation (HESA)
  • Non-EU student enrolments up 59,000 (2019/20)
  • Student accommodation sector needs to expand while remaining affordable

It’s been an interesting couple of years for the UK in terms of its international student numbers. The government’s International Education Strategy has a target of hosting 600,000 international students by 2030, despite the current complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. Hitting the target would mean the industry’s economic impact reaching £35bn annually, making it an attractive aim.

The 2019/20 academic year was certainly a good one for non-EU student numbers, with enrolments shooting up by 59,000 students, taking non-EU total enrolments to 556,625.

So, what does this mean for pressure on student accommodation? UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has been working with both domestic and international students since 2013, helping them to secure accommodation in their university town or city by acting as their guarantor. The market has changed a great deal since then, with a major boom in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), although figures from Glenigan show that planning consents for such properties have dropped every year since 2017.

Nor are PBSA homes suited to all students. Many prefer to live in halls, while figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that around 30% of students opt for private rented accommodation.

The UK has an interesting spread of student accommodation, with some university cities suffering from a deficit of suitable homes and others a sizeable glut. The fluctuations in student movement patterns that the pandemic has created is further complicating this picture. However, the long-term view is a positive one for student numbers, particularly those from overseas. This means that the accommodation sector needs to prepare to house increasing numbers of talented young people over the years ahead and to do so in an affordable way.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

Affordability is a key concern for many students and especially so for those without a rental guarantor. At a time when many parents and guardians have been furloughed, have lost their jobs or face the prospect of losing their jobs, signing up to guarantee a child’s rent becomes a far more dauting prospect.

This is one of the reasons that Housing Hand has seen such a sharp rise in the number of domestic students using its services. Between November 2019 and November 2020, demand from UK students increased by 12%. While international student numbers dropped over the same period, in line with trends across the sector as a whole, the long-term prospects remain bright.

“International demand for university education in the UK has necessarily been curbed by the pandemic and its associated travel restrictions but the longer-term outlook is one of growing demand. We need to ensure that appropriate accommodation is in place, therefore, for the growing body of students that the UK will be housing. That includes an emphasis on affordability, to ensure that young people can focus on their studies, rather than having to find several months’ rent upfront because they don’t have a guarantor.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Housing Hand warns of increasing unsustainability of using landlords to support non-paying tenants

Housing Hand warns of increasing unsustainability of using landlords to support non-paying tenants

United Kingdom
  • 700,000 tenants and landlords could be dealing with rent arrears by end of 2021 (LSE London/Trust for London)
  • Eviction ban well intended but fails to protect increasingly desperate landlords and letting agents
  • Clock is ticking for government to step in

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand is speaking out on behalf of landlords who are suffering at the hands of the government’s eviction ban. The legislation has been designed to protect tenants who have suffered financial loss as a result of the Covid pandemic. However, in so doing, it is creating an increasingly difficult situation for many landlords. Some are facing not just losing their investment properties but their homes as well.

The intentions of the eviction ban to protect individual tenants are excellent, but the situation unfortunately doesn’t take all those involved in the rental transaction into account. The financial impact of tenants who can’t afford to pay on landlords is devastating.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The clock is certainly ticking. According to research by LSE London and Trust for London, the number of private tenants in rent arrears in England could treble in the coming year. That could mean as many as 700,000 tenants – and their landlords – in financial difficulty.

Housing Hand points out that letting agents, too, are suffering Letting agents receive a percentage of a property’s rent as a management fee, but 15% of £0 is £0. This means that there is a limit to how long agents, as well as landlords, can continue to operate with a reduced income. Client Money Protect reported at the end of 2020 that lettings agencies were closing at a rate of ten per week. Housing Hand believes that around 4% of all letting agencies closed their doors for good during the year.

The eviction ban is currently due to run until 21 February but has the potential to be extended in line with continuing lockdown restrictions. Such a move would mean that landlords, and the letting agents whose businesses they support, could face further weeks or even months of financial struggle. For those with mortgage payments to cover, the situation is increasingly unsustainable.

“The government must stop using private landlords to house tenants who are unable or unwilling to pay their rent. These are difficult times for all concerned and a new solution is needed – one that supports all those involved in the rental sector.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

The situation highlights the value of professional rental guarantor services, which guarantee landlords will receive their rental payments, even when tenants cannot afford to pay. Housing Hand has covered £587,626,099 in rent to date, working with over 3,000 accommodation providers.

“Those without a guarantor company in place are likely to see landlords increasingly turning to their personal guarantors for payment over the difficult months ahead. It’s a role that parents often fulfil, but how many of those acting as guarantors are also finding that their income has been reduced or lost entirely? The government needs to do more to step in and prop up the private rented sector in these truly exceptional times.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/