13:56 PM, 25th January 2021, About 10 months ago 43
The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) guidance was a shock to landlords when we heard about it this week. It is a truly atrocious bit of legislation, heaping even more worry and misery on landlords and also likely to have a very damaging effect on the prospects of any potential tenants looking for private accommodation who have any experience of mental health problems.
I have laid this out in an article this week, which I hope to get to the attention of the powers that be. Hard cases make bad law: landlords, debt and mental health | TheArticle
The most egregious parts of the rules are the lack of any clear definition as to what constitutes a ‘serious’ mental illness and secondly the idea that someone facing a mental health crisis would be able to live rent-free until the crisis was over – however long this takes.
I have also laid out what this would mean for a landlord surviving on the state pension and the rent from one property. They could go from living on an income of £850pm to having to manage on £50. Of course, as we learned with the effects of Section 24, there will also be cases where they have to live on less than zero.
The worry for landlords unlucky enough to suddenly find their tenant is officially granted the ‘breathing space’ is going to be immense. It is of course already a common experience for landlords to suffer ill health because of their tenants.
Landlord, Bansi Soni, who was on dialysis and couldn’t sleep with worrying about her non-paying tenant said: ‘she’s still occupying my flat and currently owes me 11 months’ rent at £13,750. The stress aggravated my physical condition which worsened the life-threatening infection I had and meant I had to be hospitalised.’
This was before this latest outrage.
Where is the consideration for or even acknowledgement of the financial and psychological strain that the Government is heaping on landlords?
What about landlords’ mental health? What kind of breathing space are we going to get? I think we all know the answer to that.
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