‘Breathing Space’ initiative – Beware?

‘Breathing Space’ initiative – Beware?

9:57 AM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago 11

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The NRLA has just sent details out about a new initiative for tenant debt management. Coming into force from May 4 2021, the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) allows people in England and Wales with unsustainable debts to arrange to enter a ‘breathing space’.

Once someone enters a breathing space their creditors are not allowed to contact them directly to request payment of the debt or take enforcement action to recover the debt (including by taking possession of property) while the breathing space is ongoing. This is designed to provide people in debt with enough time to find a solution for their financial problems.

While this legislation is aimed primarily at large lenders such as banks, the obligations apply to any creditor, including landlords. In particular, landlords who are seeking possession because of rent arrears will need to be aware of these restrictions as it can cause issues for Section 8 proceedings.

There are two types of breathing space that a tenant may enter into a standard breathing space and a mental health crisis breathing space.

For the most part, both types of breathing space operate in the same way. Creditors are prevented from taking steps to recover debt for the duration of the breathing space. However, the duration and frequency of the breathing spaces, as well as who can make the application will vary.
My first reaction….hmmmm…. second reaction after reading it further details is………

If a tenant asks for this BEFORE you get a S8 or possession order in, you are inevitably more unlikely to get either any arrears OR them out of the property!

I am sure this will start a big debate, but if this is what it is heading towards, there is going to be another almighty wave of S8’s in the offing to avoid being trapped once one of these is issued.

Reluctant Landlord

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10:53 AM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Yes another kick in the teeth for landlords !

Luke P

11:27 AM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

If the tenant is not two months in arrears, you’ll not be able to issue a S.8 (for arrears, anyway). Even then, the wait time is 6-months, so long enough for the Debt Respite Scheme to come in. Being partway through the process does not prevent proceedings being halted by a Scheme order.

Just wait until the Renters Reform Bill comes in!

In all seriousness, the Govt. *need* these things now because of the deluge of evictions headed their way. Don’t solve the problem, just bog them down.


11:55 AM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

The mental health issue could be a major headache for landlords. Whilst none of us would want anyone with mental health problems to suffer, including facing eviction, we have a state system that is supposed to support and care for all of us when we are ill. This smacks of pushing the funding of the mentally ill yet again away from the state system (and in this case unfairly onto landlords). If someone cannot pay their rent then they should be entitled to Universal Credit, not put into an arrears situation. My experience is that mental health services will not intervene in most situations and therefore the 'crisis' will last longer and we will be paying for housing people who should be being treated - often they should be in hospital. There should be criteria in the legislation that insist that housing benefits are applied for in every case, by the council . And that the person must be receiving help and treatment from mental health services as it is within a person's right to refuse help at present. Many mentally ill people are unable to manage their affairs and are left to cope alone. Although there are systems in place they are often charity funded and have their hands tied. They are also influenced by councils to push the mentally ill into the private sector and away from council housing responsibility. I have been told in one case that the person in question was too risky to rehouse, but that they should apply for a private rental for which they offered a deposit and bombarded us with private let adverts!

Luke P

13:02 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

It will also cost the State more because now the faux claims will require resources such as GPS, mental health teams, possibly even unnecessary medication to keep up the pretence.


13:07 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 19/01/2021 - 13:02
I hear your fear. Have you ever tried to convince mental health services you are ill? It’s extremely difficult even when you are!


15:17 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Would a tenant's breathing space arrangement with another Creditor stop a landlord issuing a section 21 notice? S.21 is not all about debt, you may simply want to sell your property before the reform bill takes away your right to use s.21, and would it stop the courts issuing a possession notice - post fast track case?

Luke P

16:44 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by CPM at 19/01/2021 - 15:17
The Breathing Space orders affect all (permitted) creditors, not targeted ones, but I doubt S.21 will ever truly return. There’s lockdown/Tiers 3 & 4 (all preventing eviction), a ridiculous backlog in the system, this Debt Respite Scheme and the Renters Reform Bill that will kill off S.21. I’m just waiting for a ban on guarantors and State-allocated tenants to complete the entirety of misery.


17:47 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

None of you can see it yet can you? Or if you can you are not owning up to it in public. I am not surprised because I have only come to the realisation in the past 4 weeks or so. All these burdens and penalties that have been put on landlords over the past 4 or 5 years were all intentional and we are now in the climax. Do you really think that just about every government in the world can't see that all this lockdown, mask wearing and distancing for all this time is unnecessary? After people have screamed at them to read the science, taken them to court, made videos about how the pcr test doesn't work, gone on marches, had nervous breakdowns, lost their jobs and their businesses and the kids have lost their schooling? I thought they must be really stupid. Then I thought they must be blind. Then I thought they needed a 2 by 4 round the head in order to wake them up but NOBODY, NO GOVERNMENT can possibly be that stupid so now I know it is deliberate. I am not going to comment on any replies as I am exhausted after 10 months of day and night checking and rechecking on information and then checking again just in case I got it wrong or misunderstood. If you have just an inkling that something might be amiss go away and check it out, and check it out to your complete satisfaction. Its up to you lot now to either go and find out or just carry on as normal. If you throw me off Property118 - so be it! I didn't really want to bring this up but I see the sniping has started about what should and shouldn't be allowed to be said on here so here is my threepennorthworth. Oh, and I wouldn't take the vaccine if I were you


18:00 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rennie at 19/01/2021 - 17:47
I know somebody who has died from Covid....tell their family, the measures aren't necessary.

The individual in question had a front line job and was very exposed, before you say that's proof the measure don't work.


18:07 PM, 19th January 2021, About 3 years ago

And I thought that the proposed Corbyn/McDonnell Policy of forcing landlords to sell to their tenants at discounted prices was alarming! Tenants do need need to buy anything at all now they can live for years rent free protected by the ConservaMarxists in government!

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