‘My tenant is refusing to leave because there’s nowhere else to rent’

Tenants are refusing to leave rental properties because the extreme shortage of rental homes has meant they cannot find anywhere else to live.

The shortage of rental properties in Britain has become so severe that an increasing number of tenants have ignored eviction notices and stayed put until they are forcibly removed, letting agents have warned.

Kate Watts, managing director of Roberts Watts estate agents in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, said: “Tenants are just refusing to move out. We serve notice and they say that they are not going anywhere because there is a shortage of properties.”

Alison Jones* has a portfolio of 34 properties spread between the Midlands and the South West, some of which she manages for her elderly father. He needs to sell a property in the West Midlands to cover the cost of his father’s care, but they are struggling to get the property back from the renter.

After six months of struggling to find somewhere else to buy, the tenant moved into the rental property. “Now we want the property back but she still can’t find anywhere to buy and she also can’t find anywhere else to rent. I’m even looking for houses for her. I’ve even volunteered to help her move with our van,” said Mrs Jones.

Greg Tsuman, of Martyn Gerrard estate agents, noted a property in Muswell Hill, north London, where tenants refusing to leave have put a property sale at risk. The landlord served notice and the tenants said that they would vacate. “We got three asking price offers. Then the existing tenants realised that there was nothing else on the market. Now they’re saying they will wait for the bailiffs to come. The landlord is in complete limbo.”

He added: “It’s becoming increasingly common, but this is just the tip of the iceberg where tenants are so desperate they will just stay put.”

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