Government must U-turn again to help landlords

by Property 118

12:11 PM, 27th August 2020
About a month ago

Government must U-turn again to help landlords

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Government must U-turn again to help landlords

The Government’s plans to extend the evictions ban could leave private landlords without any rent for up to two years.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has said that the Government is asking landlords to subsidise struggling renters and rewarding those who are wilfully refusing to pay their rent. It is also causing continuing hardship to communities and families suffering anti-social behaviour and domestic violence perpetrated by tenants.

This follows the chaos last week which saw Ministers embark on a last minute U-turn over plans for repossession cases to be heard in the courts from 23rd August.

The Government has now said that repossession cases on the grounds of rent arrears will not be treated as a priority until tenants have built over a year’s worth of rent debts. Added to this is the six months’ notice that landlords now have to give. Where the case is disputed, even before the pandemic, courts were taking an average of nearly six months to deal with cases, with the backlog this is now likely to be longer.

Taking the English Housing Survey average weekly rent in the private sector of £200, this means a potential lost income for a landlord of up to two years amounting to £20,800.

The letter points out to the Prime Minister that the vast majority (94%) of private landlords are individuals, renting out just one or two properties. They are not property tycoons with deep pockets able to subsidise rents indefinitely but are ordinary people who rely on this income to pay their living expenses.  The NRLA is warning that the Government’s failure to provide any direct financial support for the sector during the pandemic means that many landlords will be forced to seek money claims against renters building arrears. This would leave tenants’ credit scores in tatters.

The NRLA argues that the only route out of the mess of the Government’s own making is for interest-free, government guaranteed hardship loans to be made available to tenants to pay-off COVID related arrears. These have been introduced in Wales and will sustain tenancies and remove any risk of eviction as furlough is removed.

These measures should be accompanied by an absolute guarantee that there will not be a further extension of the ban on repossessions.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:

“The overwhelming majority of landlords have been working constructively with their tenants to sustain tenancies where rent arrears have built as a direct result of the pandemic. The Government’s actions are a kick in the teeth for all these landlords who have done the right thing.

“Ministers must use the next four weeks to come up with a credible plan that pays off rent arrears built due to the pandemic and gets the courts hearing cases again.

“Stopping landlords from legally ending failed and disruptive tenancies is not a solution. The Government must act to cover the costs of providing homes, they cannot expect landlords to foot the bill for their failure to support households.”


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Comments

DALE ROBERTS

12:19 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

My level of fury at this further gross infringement of my rights and deliberate interference in a legitimate contract between myself and a tenant, which undermines my ownership of a privately owned property, grows by day.
How dare this government appropriate private property with biased legislation that makes landlords financially responsible for housing non-paying tenants.
My last unit is now empty after the last tenant vacated. I am refurbishing after the usual tenant neglect and this will cost approximately GBP6 000.
It will remain empty till sold even if it takes me 2 years to do so.
I'm done with being taken advantage of.

Dr Rosalind Beck

12:51 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 28/08/2020 - 12:19
Yes, Dale.
I tried to explain this to the Welsh Shelter employee, Jenny Bibbings at a conference where I met her. My last words to her were 'watch all the empty properties,' as especially with the 45% of landlords who only own one property, it is simply not worth the risk of facing paying two mortgages and associated costs for up to 2 years or more, while the tenant is most likely also damaging the property. This is a rogue's charter.

Beaver

13:28 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Congratulations to Meera Chindooroy who just went on national television to make the point that the majority of landlords are small landlords who cannot sustain prolonged periods of tenants not paying their rent.

The majority of landlords have 1-2 properties, probably 70% of them. They're not all big, incorporated businesses.

Dr Rosalind Beck

13:46 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Yes, the landlords' view was portrayed for a change on the BBC. The majority of the coverage was still, as it appeared to me about 90% the tenants' side and 10% the landlords' side, but hopefully it might signal a slight shift in the BBC's bias.

DALE ROBERTS

15:39 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 28/08/2020 - 12:51Exactly.
And which other industry has been targeted in this manner?
Is the car leasing industry being legislated into providing a free service? Are hotels mandated to accept non-payment for accommodation? Are restaurants being forced into providing free food? Have parking tickets or municipal bills or utility bills been suspended? Can I have a free mobile service?
I'm starting to feel that landlords have been beaten into submission ably assisted by the various landlord organisations that purport to support them.
Take the bloody UK government to court over this rights issue!

Dr Rosalind Beck

16:00 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 28/08/2020 - 15:39
I made exactly this point in early June in a journal read by Conservative Ministers. I have a feeling there will be a shift soon. There has to be or the whole sector will go to hell in a handcart.

This was my article:
https://capx.co/the-latest-rental-reprieve-is-another-kick-in-the-teeth-for-landlords/

NewYorkie

17:23 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

...interest-free, government guaranteed hardship loans to be made available to tenants to pay-off COVID related arrears. These have been introduced in Wales...

Have I missed something here? Surely, there is only one Government in the UK!

£3000 in arrears and counting since lockdown for one tenant who is willfully refusing to pay his rent. He refuses to engage with us. Notices have been served but nothing will happen for at least 12 months unless we can prove anti-social behaviour (he did allegedly use a neighbour's wi-fi to download child porn while decorating his apartment and continued to access it from his own apartment. The Police turned up! Does that count?).
He has continued to work throughput lockdown. He is still working. He has received a tax rebate and the first SEIS payment, he's probably also on UC and claiming the LHA (how do I find out?).

Excuses to my agent this morning, when she finally caught him in 'my' apartment... he's got Covid (but still working!), he's got mental health problems and been advised he can't be evicted (what's that got to do with not paying rent?), he won't pay because the landlord doesn't have to pay his mortgage!, he will pay next week (no he won't!).

I even offered to wipe out his arrears if he moved out. But he knows he has me over a barrel and can sit there for the next 2 years living rent-free. I'm a pensioner and my 2 BTLs were meant to supplement my pension.

Why can the Government allow this reprobate to scam me, while my other tenant, a single parent, lost her job but applied for UC for the very first time and has paid her rent religiously?

Something must be done because I'm out of options.

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:33 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 28/08/2020 - 17:23
You need to read the following. If he is 6 months in arrears you should be able to take action pronto and not be bound by the additional new 6 month notice.

https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2020/8/surprise-changes-announced-to-notice-periods-for-repossessions#comments10021

Bill Williams

20:38 PM, 28th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 27/08/2020 - 12:33
Yes I have wondered whether these government instructions extending notice periods and banning evictions are actually legal. After all an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is a legal and binding contract to which both parties agreed, isn't it?

Ingrid Bacsa

0:15 AM, 29th August 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 27/08/2020 - 19:48
Rumour has it they will be pressing for all landlords to be forced to take Dss tenants. We have been forced to become social.landlords already, since councils sold off council estates. We are said to not be working - which is why we couldnt get covid help yet we are supposed to be managers - for Free- looking aftef the safety of our tenants. We also have to follow a plethora of stupid and expensive regulations and our managing directors are the councils, who control our businesses and DO get paid.
What a cheek to give rent free accommodation at our expense just because they can. The gov had to pay restaurants for the free meal deals. ... but rent???

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