Figures unearthed by the Daily Telegraph show the scale of the arrears and eviction court case backlog likely to face the industry later this year.
Quoting information from The Lettings Industry Council, which represents 100 companies across the rental market, the paper claims some £3m is now owed in arrears by private rental sector tenants.
The average owed is around £1,250.
There are now 2,444 pending court cases, over 600 of which were instigated before the lockdown.
Earlier this week Letting Agent Today carried a warning from legal practice Irwin Mitchell of possible backlog delays, especially as even pre-Covid the average time between claims and repossessions taking place was 23.6 weeks.
In response to the latest figures Franz Doerr – founder and chief executive of deposit alternative service flatfair – says: “[The] figures from The Lettings Industry Council do not come as a great surprise but underline the threat that coronavirus poses to the rental market. Renters do not have as much breathing room to cut back on spending, leaving them vulnerable to economic shocks.
“Many tenants have been hit hard financially, either through being furloughed or losing their job altogether and this adds to the financial pressure that they may already be under.
“More action needs to be taken to support tenants and landlords alike to communicate, and ensure that a fair equitable solution is found in the unfortunate cases where a tenant cannot pay their rent.”