Government’s so-called protection is damaging decent tenants’ prospects

Government’s so-called protection is damaging decent tenants’ prospects

14:19 PM, 5th March 2021, About 2 years ago 30

Text Size

How the Government’s so-called protection for renters is damaging decent tenants’ prospects and leading to empty properties.

Enquiry 1: Hi, I’m John and i work as a sales assistant in Bristol, I would probably want the tenancy to start within the next month and go on for as long as possible really, also I don’t have a guarantor.

Hi John, Unfortunately, due to Government legislation we now have to have a guarantor. Sorry about that, and good luck with your search.

Enquiry 2: I am Masaya from Japan. I was interested in seeing this ad for you. I want to go see this house. However, I still can’t speak English well, so please exchange messages.

Hi Masaya, Unfortunately, we need the tenant to have a UK guarantor. I assume as you are from Japan that you do not have a family member in the UK who could be your guarantor? Good luck with your search.

These are real exchanges this week with potential tenants and this is the natural consequence of Government policy to enable tenants to stay for 2 years or more when they are not paying the rent.  Their cumulative 12 months’ eviction ban, 6 months’ notice periods, numerous new hurdles to jump – such as reactivation notices, reviews, mediation and debt moratoriums – directives to courts not to consider cases until 12 months’ arrears have accrued and huge delays now in the courts and with bailiffs – these combined ways of ‘helping tenants’ have had the exact opposite effect for potential tenants.

In the past landlords risked around 5-6 months’ loss of rent if they were unfortunate enough to get a bad tenant.  With the risks having multiplied because of the above Government policies I have heard many landlords say that they now prefer to have empty rooms or empty properties for even a few months rather than risk having to subsidise someone for several years – getting one of these tenants can be ruinous for landlords with only one or two properties who rely on the rent to pay the mortgage, but which is stressful for any landlord. Having a guarantor is the only way to mitigate the risk.

As seen in the exchanges above, with the Government’s protection of rogue tenants, the perfectly decent ones who need somewhere to stay either to work or study in the UK and whom landlords would previously have accepted are being shut out. How are international students going to find sufficient places to stay? (these are people who pay huge amounts to British universities in fees)  How will people who need to move for work who are foreign or don’t come from a home-owning family going to find somewhere to live? What will be the effect be on the economy?

I would be interested in hearing from other landlords about your policies regarding needing a guarantor, and how this is affecting your business and void levels. Be as specific as you can be regarding your likely losses and how many months of empty properties you have had over the last tax year due to the Government policies mentioned above.

Example: I had 3 empty rooms for 3 months, 4 months, and 5 months, so a total of 12 months’ rent lost at an average of £400, so £4,800 lost in the last year.



Comments

JB

12:09 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

I totally agree with you Ros. The continuing onslaught Landlords have endured keeps on costing good tenants more - in terms of less property available, more hoops to jump through to get a property and the actual cost.

EPC compliance is next. Why should tenants be picked on to have their properties meet new EPC levels when homeowners are not? Landlords wont be picking up the tab - tenants will. Its simply not fair to tenants.

TheBiggerPicture

12:11 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 07/03/2021 - 13:42
You have the ownership and responsibility of the property, but the government has the first rights and final control of it.
If that isn't the definition of stress, I don't know what is.

moneymanager

13:57 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

We haven't re let one property since the advent of covid related regs, enquiries are either for rent-to-rent (lease prohibited but no-way in any case) or financially unviable, as other have said, beter to cash flow the void than do that anyway plus additional stress.

NewYorkie

15:42 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

Accurate and to the point, as usual, Ros.
I sold up in London. Rent £1,750pm for a 2 bed apartment in a very nice area. Never had a problem but sold while the price was right and almost doubled my investment. Also remortgaged to BTL and was about to rent my 4-bed house in London for £3,000pm and use the equity to buy outside London. Then S.24 landed, and the rent plus my employment income would have been disastrous. I left it empty for 2 years while the market sorted itself out and sold 15 months ago during the brief Boris Brexit bounce, again doubling my investment. I've bought a 4-bed in York and refurbished top-to-bottom. There is a dire shortage of high quality family rented accommodation in and around York, with well-heeled families with kids in the local private schools. Previously, I would have said that's the market to go for, but Covid has turned the world on its head, and so many previously financially comfortable families are struggling. But I've now had enough of BTL after one tenant in Stocksbridge decided to stop paying rent a year ago and refuses to engage in dialogue. His income, with SEISS and self-employed earnings is more than mine, but I'm the one paying for his housing! £6000 arrears and counting, plus ASB, police, drink, drugs, loud parties, and then there's the legal costs, and I still don't know when it will get to court. But then I face the challenge of bailiffs not working where there are Covid restrictions... which is everywhere!
Before this miscreant [who knows all the rules and plays all the games!] I had a lovely retired couple who were so grateful for their apartment, and I have a single Mum elsewhere who was so embarrassed and worried when she lost her job due to Covid and had never claimed UC before. I helped her through it and she hasn't missed a day's rent. Once both tenants have gone, I am selling up. That will mean 10 beds lost to the PRS. I'm 66 and really don't need the hassle.

Carol

16:45 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

I am selling up too as and when properties become vacant. Not worth the risk. Being a landlord is hard work without all the stress of wondering what the government will hit us next with. 25+ tenants will be looking for a new home.

Paul landlord

19:05 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

I deal in the 'affordable' end of the market if you know what I mean and have been since 1992. For the first ten years or so no problem people honourable. Then things changed for the worst particularly after New Labour's LHA to tenant devarcle. For the last ten years I have had a policy of 'no guarantor no tenancy' and my tenant problems dropped off the edge of a cliff.

But now I have a problem that has come up on guarantors.

If you read the NRLAs latest tenancy agreements under points 10.1 and 10.2 a guarantor can give notice and walk after the fixed term with no effect on or consequences for the tenant.

I spoke on the advice line and put a few scenarios.

1) I put in a guaranteed tenant on an initial 6th month fixed term and everything works well. The guarantor walks after fixed term (why stay? The tenants feet are now under my table). Tenant told need new guarantor- but Icant force that . Tenant now stops paying and for the next 2 year's im pretty b*ggered again- where is my security.

2) I put then only way round is to offer 5 year tenancies! Apparently that would work to hold the guarantor- but come on like thats ever going to happen!!

They tell me that recent case law prevents my old guarantor deed which holds the guarantor responsible for the term of the entire tenancy including spt or cpt and if they wanted out then they were responsible until eviction of the tenant had taken place if no other guarantor took over and i wasnt happy without guarantor, would no longer hold in court. Unfair clause now tho previously valid.

Anybody know if this is correct? Any advice. I feel the nrla tenancy and guarantor set up a farce.

I feel I have no security now even with a guarantor as they can walk away when they feel after initial 6 months. And believe me I've had good tenants turn bad after 6 years never mind 6 months!!

James Fraser

21:03 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 08/03/2021 - 19:05
I cannot believe this is correct, unless something has changed very recently. I was an NLA adviser for 10 years and still run accreditation courses for them. We have ALWAYS said a guarantor is on the hook for the length of the tenancy and is only release-able if the landlord agrees to break the binding nature of the guarantor’s agreement. Certainly my own contracts still state this and a quick google search reveals legal sites still saying a guarantor is on the hook beyond the fixed term - indefinitely, in fact. I don’t suppose the NRLA gave you the case name, by any chance? Might it be worth asking them again?

Luke P

21:09 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 08/03/2021 - 19:05
Yes, any additional information you have would be really useful in checking the validity of this, Paul.

NewYorkie

21:09 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by James Fraser at 08/03/2021 - 21:03
I guess, check the NRLA AST 10.1 and 10.2. I don't have a copy.

Anne Nixon

22:07 PM, 8th March 2021, About 2 years ago

I have had a lovely flat vacant for 2 months now, lots of applications but none as yet able to provide a guarantor unfortunately.
A vacant flat is preferable to having to go through the nightmare of having another long term non payer.
All utilities are included in the rent and I had two jokers living free in my flats for many months while on 100% furlough.
Enough is enough . . .

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now