Big lettings industry updates and a protracted claims process - Your insurance market snapshot [+ video]
Lee Redfearn, Insurance Development Manager at Goodlord, shares how and why the insurance claims process has increased in recent times, plus some updates on the latest lettings legislation and how this is affecting the insurance landscape.
This month, we're going to cover some stats from our Rental Index and take a mini deep-dive into how the Rent Protection landscape has changed quite dramatically in recent years, plus we've got a couple of big industry updates - all of which you can read or watch below.
Firstly, our April Rental Index. We've found that in April, the rents held steady across England, but we've seen salaries increase. This will hopefully help tilt affordability slightly in the favour of tenants. That said, it's not all good news. Voids have jumped up across many regions, showing that the industry is not completely out of the woods just yet.
Rent Protection and the claims process
I said we'd delve into Rent Protection and talk about the landscape and how it's changed in recent times. If we go back three or four years, the average claim time was around four months. That's only four months of agents and landlords not being paid. The court process was faster, and claims were being made less frequently without COVID to contend with. Now, this is no longer the case. The world has changed, as we all know. The process is now far more protracted, at around 11 months.
Lettings industry updates
Why is that? There are six month notice periods still in place, in most instances, but the big news of the week is that the government has confirmed that this will fall to four months from the 1st of June for most tenants - that's still two months longer than the standard pre-pandemic notice period. The government has also confirmed that the current evictions ban will end on the 31st of May in England, meaning that evictions can't be enforced by bailiffs in the rented sector before that date. Good news for agents and landlords who will be able to regain possession of their properties, when relevant.
Agents and landlords with operations in Wales and Scotland will have even longer to wait. The evictions ban could potentially come to an end in June for Wales and in September for some regions of Scotland.
Recent research by MyDeposits highlights that 31 percent of landlords and agents said that their tenants were currently in rent arrears. This all paints a picture as to why the claims process is taking 11 months on average at the moment. That's where a strong Rent Protection policy can help support different parties in the industry to keep income flowing.
Tenant support schemes
The government has also recently introduced a couple of new schemes to help support tenants. Firstly, the Debt Respite Scheme, which allows eligible tenants some breathing space, giving them time to find a way to pay off their debts, from the 4th of May this year in England and in Wales. The Housing Possession Mediation Service, which aims to help tenants and landlords reach an acceptable resolution for all. This service kicks in at the review stage, before the case even reaches the stage of a hearing.
This new mediation service is in line with government guidelines to work with tenants, to find the best solution for all - and 25 percent of landlords and agents surveyed, again by MyDeposits, claim to have accommodated their tenants by formulating a payment plan. These stats show that a dedicated mediation process has a high chance of success - and it's worth considering a Rent Protection service that offers free mediation at the early stage in line with government guidelines, such as Goodlord's, to find the right solution for all.