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Landlords asked not to evict as council pleads poverty

A London council is writing to thousands of private landlords in its borough urging them not to evict people.

Southwark council says this is a time of great uncertainty, with COVID cases on the increase and unemployment rising, and the country faces a deepening housing crisis.

The authority says when private landlords evict tenants, it often falls to the council to house those who find themselves homeless. 


With economic instability after jobs were halted during lockdown, the council says it’s seeing its waiting list for council housing go from 10,000 to 13,000 in recent months. Rough sleeping is also beginning to increase, with 17 people currently sleeping outside.

Whilst some funding has been made available from central government, the council claims in a statement that “it is in no way commensurate with the need in Southwark.”

The government gave the council £33,000 for the Everyone In project rehousing homeless people in the spring, and a further £545,000 for services to those the authority cannot house under statutory duty – the majority of clients are vulnerable and many have no recourse to public funds. Last week, the government offered Southwark council a further £1m.

A larger package of £30m was made available, but that is expected to cover the full services for the council, not just housing.

A council spokeswoman says: “What is desperately needed is long term, consistent and adequate funding from the government to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping – particularly for those who we cannot lawfully support – and for the government to make good on its pledge to cover our COVID related costs. 

“As well as this, we need private landlords to play their part and keep a roof over tenants’ heads, and to help with the supply of homes for people as properties become empty. It should never happen that we see people becoming homeless, especially as we approach colder months, and the more difficult economic times ahead.”

As well as asking landlords to stop evictions the letter goes on to urge them to take part in the council’s accreditation and guaranteed rent scheme, where both tenants and landlords alike can benefit from secure housing and consistent rent payments.

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Poll: Is now the time to hold back on evictions?


  • George Dawes

    Trim down the council, lower YOUR overheads and waste - easy as that .

    Sadly as they're public sector they haven't got a clue about financial management and blame everyone but themselves


    Quite Right, financial incompetence and mis-management, which our public sector is notorious for. Please correct me if I am wrong, but Councils have reduced many of their services yet continue to demand full council tax + business rates and the LA Ombudsman is defunct.

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    • 16 October 2020 06:06 AM

    OK - So I don't have enough money...Just give me some, which is what they are actually asking.

    Will all these poor failing businesses at the moment be allowed to remain because they cannot afford the outrageous local council charges?

  • icon

    councils treat Landlords like criminals,force a licence on them (money grabbing) and then ask for help.
    They can go to hell! treat us right and we may play ball.


    You took the words out of my mouth Paul. Unbelievable really treated like scum of the earth. And now they want us to help. As far as I’m concerned the council is my enemy and the least I have to do with them the better.

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    It sounds like the council is effectively asking landlords to see themselves as a social service. Which is fine if they want to be, but private landlords have their own financial arrangements and should not be expected to provide free accommodation without compensation.

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    What does the landlord say to his mortgagee?

  • icon

    As ye sow........

    Perhaps they might be better asking landlords, usually successful businessmen who have continually had to adapt to changing circumstances, to run an experienced eye over THEIR business practices and suggest where economies can be made.

    It's my understanding that no public sector employees (I won't use the term workers) were furloughed and continued to get paid 100% irrespective of whether any useful work was being done by them.

    In addition the number of council executives earning six figure salaries is outrageous.

    Matthew Payne

    All available to see on the Tax Payers alliance website. There are 2441 council employees earning over £100k, 607 over £150k, 28 over £250k.


    Risky, they might have a heart attack laughing.

  • Mark Wilson

    Can't you see it's a food chain. landlords live off tenants, and in this case local government live off landlords. Dog eat dog. Anyone really surprised? I am sure there is more bad news to come.


    I would say that a tenant living in a property he couldn't or wouldn't buy is living off the landlord - not the other way round!


    Dog Eat Dog implies 2 dogs (or wrong-doers), so how about changing that to Dog Eat Investor in this instance?
    The living that a landlord gets from renting property to their tenant is usually the result of considerable investment (of money they've earned) and good management.
    Conversely -
    Local government's [expected] returns from local landlords [in this scenario] is the result of wasting money (that's been given to them) and poor management.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Councils should STOP ' investing ' their Council-Tax payers money in Commercial property and use it to build Council housing instead of off-loading that responsibility to the PRS.

    The Govt should have seen this coming in March, instead of delaying the inevitable and passing the costs of extended housing ( over and above the legislated practice ) onto Private Landlords, many of whom are single property owners and have suffered hardship due to loss of rental income.


    Building housing in London is a very poor use of very valuable land. You may argue that so just how much land is available in London? Very little and certainly not enough for thousands of dwellings. We could only have all those people in absolutely massive buildings. My awakening was when I saw the developments on the Aberdeen side of Hong Kong thirty years ago. The buildings become complete towns/villages which you never leave. Singapore is the same.


    no chance--they are still investing

    remember councils are on full pay whilst doing much less

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    Incredible that the councils that have been screwing landlords over left right and centre are now begging. Similarly the government after putting the thumb screws on, expects landlords to sub them. Honestly get out while you can. Bunch of leeches, councils and governments alike.


    The more landlords who give up, the greater the demand for my properties and market forces will push up the market rents.

    I can't think of any other investment vehicle giving a better risk/return ratio, albeit with a bit more hassle than lower yielding but lower risk and higher yielding but riskier investments.

    • 16 October 2020 14:48 PM

    Let them beg........Forever.

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    • 16 October 2020 10:37 AM

    Let this council go suck! Why should I help THEM?
    It has NEVER been reciprocated..!!!!!!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    For a start, the Council can scrap its licensing schemes and refund the fees - THEN, perhaps have a discussion. ( But then the Govt would also need to Reverse All its Anti-PRS landlords regulations over the last 10 years, including Sec 24. )
    Things are going to get a lot worse before the govt ( and tenants ) wake up to the cause of the problem, which ain't landlords.

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    The government has to provide housing for all these families, the costs are nothing compared to the ongoing bank bailouts

    • 16 October 2020 15:45 PM

    Indeed for quite a few LL they require about another £200 monthly rent on top of current LHA rates.
    A lot cheaper than TA.

    But Govt is driven by ideology rather than financial pragmatism.

    Govt can still increase LHA but obviously within the current OBC.

    This would mean reduced other benefits to allow increased LHA.
    If this means that DSS tenants can't afford to reside in expensive areas then they'll have to MOVE or heaven forbid get a job!!
    16 hrs week pw allows the OBC to be ignored.
    If welfare scroungers can't be bothered to do 16hrs work pw then they deserve everything that might happen to them!

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    HM0's is the biggest cause of homelessness for sure because of HM0's, time to scrap the Licensing Schemes now. I could have let 20 times over but it would be to.. whether it's Individual lead Tenant sub-letter / Corporate pretend Companies (Ltd's) & letting Agents now doing it big time, thousands of lets they take LL's property as a whole & sub-let it out in rooms all making a killing. This is not compatible with all the Regulation we have to comply with, least of all HM0's. Right we do Reference checks, Credit checks, Right to Rent check etc, when you let to those guys who have corned the market we don't have a clue who is staying at the Property but we must be snow white the most appropriate persons. I had a group of individuals who seemed to be suitable for HM0 but it was not to be some of their colleagues were very disappointed with their friends when it came to light one had CCJ £1875.00 live, another had a much bigger one £100'000.00 I kid you not, still I know if Sub-letting merchants gets hold of your Property they will & are housed all over the place no problem. Mark you can all eat one another if you like but I never lived off anyone.

  • Lou Valdini

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    UNIONS, - enough said, therein lies the problem.

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    Private landlords have played their part all the way throughout this crisis. Now it’s time for the government to play their part!!

  •  G romit

    Landlords should give the same amount of sympathy and support that Council have give them over recent years i.e. ZILCH!

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    Quite simple Southwark council write a cheque out to the LL & tenant stays & you've nothing to worry about. Oh sorry that's too easy isnt it. Council are busy having 10 meetings on how they can make this more costly in some way

    Same council that wants to take £900 for a licence a few months ago then they have audacity to say this.

  • David Ortiz


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    Since Covid started, I am being expected to pay 100% Council Tax for my empty property as I have not been able to get it tenanted. That's EMPTY for 7 (SEVEN) MONTHS. Plus I have to pay the mortgage. The council s**ts on me so why would I help them?

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    • 16 October 2020 19:52 PM

    We know......It is crookery......Theiving.

    Why should you pay for sevices that are NOT used........?

    Unfair and thieving.....

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    Yes Simon I am paying £214 pm C/tax on empty house as well + several other bits of C/tax through out the year when people move on, and there is talk of doubling it all for a non-service, but if one person was living there would be 25% discount they are not thinking straight ?

    • 17 October 2020 00:05 AM

    So the answer is have one person living at the property!!

    Whether they actually exist is irrelevant
    I have never had an empty property even when it is empty!!

    Play the game or be ripped off by Councils.

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    Those numbers are vast.Surely they are beyond reality? The councils need to look at what they are doing and refuse to put people on their lists until there is a chance they might get a house. That of course would be illegal for vulnerable people. So what is the answer? It certainly isn't to give the councils limitless cash. In the past we used parish work houses. These were detested so no one wanted to end up there. No comment needed.

    The bottom line is that you can only live in a city if there is space for you. Otherwise get out but, oh dear, all our other towns are full of immigrants!

    • 17 October 2020 11:00 AM

    I suppose a big question is will Councils ever run out of TA?

    If so what do they do then.
    4* hotels!?
    You have to say that Govt and Council behaviour has been quite successful in driving LL out of business and yet now they have the cheek to come begging to LL to take on their homelezz.

    Simply beggars belief the brass neck of these Councils.

    They must surely know by now that most LL detest their Local Council and consequently aren't minded to assist them one jot!

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    • 17 October 2020 11:20 AM


    So all this supposedly valuable city land what are they going to build on it?
    Another office block.............that ship has sailed!
    So luxury apartments or luxury padded cells!?

    Hmm! Buy a luxury apartment in a crowded city centre ideal for transmitting viruses or buy a 4 bed house in the country adjacent to a nearby stn to reach Central London easily.

    All of a sudden that London land doesn't look so valuable!

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    You have to be very careful when considering taking on a council social tenant. They will offer a cash lump sum as an incentive and the deposit as enticement but the rent will be paid to the tenant in arrears and you have to just hope the tenant will pay you.
    In addition the quality of tenant will be low IQ and pure trouble, you may have to sift through 100 to find 1 worthy of possessing your property.

    Lou Valdini

    You may be right about some tenants receiving LHA but not paying their rent, and therefore you need to get an APA in place. But I think your comment about these tenants being 'low IQ' is pretty appalling. I suspect you'll find many who are much better qualified than you and me, but have either fallen on hard times or simply cannot manage their finances. There will soon be a huge number of highly intelligent and previously well-paid people receiving LHA as the lockdown plays out and people have to start claiming UC for the first time in their life.

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    • 18 October 2020 16:59 PM


    So your suggestion that many UC tenants are intelligent defies belief.

    All these allegedly intelligent new UC claimants did they not consider saving to cover for sudden income loss or reduced income circumstances.
    Of course they didn't because most tenants are feckless.

    I bet these allegedly intelligent people went on holiday and spent liberally with no thought about sudden income loss.

    I call such people................thick!!

    Afraid it is the case that the vast majority of HB claimants fall into the feckless category which is why we LL don't wish to let to them.
    They simply aren't a viable business proposition.
    I had a flat vacant for 3 months.
    No way would I have taken anyone on UC.
    Now flat is occupied by decent occupants.

    We decent LL simply refuse to take on tenant dross.

    Change the eviction laws to allow rent defaulting tenants to be booted out quickly and we LL may consider taking on some of the dross.

    Until that happy day few LL will will to take on UC tenants at the outset of a tenancy.
    There isn't much a LL can do if a tenant turns into a UC tenant..

    Lou Valdini

    You are neither a decent landlord or decent human being!


    Spot on Paul, would seem Lou Valdini doesn't know what he is talking about, clearly not a landlord.


    It's the rent dodgers holding on to tax payers' cash given to them to pay their landlords that are despicable people. Sensible landlords want nothing to do with them. There are plenty of decent tenants to choose from. Why should we choose scum?

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    Lou may be right about higher IQ in some recent or future tenants but Javad is right about low IQ in the vast majority of past tenants.

    Getting free money to pay your rent but not paying it and thus eventually getting evicted sounds pretty low IQ to me!

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    • 18 October 2020 17:07 PM

    I would query how intelligent some of these allegedly intelligent people are?

    An idiot should know you need savings sufficient to cover for 1 year at least if no income.

    But feckless tenants DON'T bother
    But of course the feckless allegedly intelligent tenants rely on the state to pay benefits even if insufficient to pay the full rent.

    UC tenants by their very nature tend to be feckless.

  • Lou Valdini

    What incensed me about Javad's comment was his statement that these types of tenants will be low IQ. My daughter receives LHA and can be quite intelligent... at times! Kids, eh? I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't mean ALL these tenants will be low IQ because that simply cannot be true, and in which case, yes, I grant that many are uneducated and many are simply bad tenants who don't value the roof over their heads. But I won't give the benefit of the doubt to Paul Barrett who's attitude gives all landlords a bad name.

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    • 18 October 2020 19:42 PM

    As far as my business goes, I make it quite clear, that any default, 1 day or more, will result in the fastest way possible to go to eviction, and I will pursue it like a hunting dog, until they go. No matter the cost or the time needed. Including A CCJ too.

    I can afford it.

    And I pay all my bills exactly on time, and I expect my tenants to do the same.

    No matter what issues they have, wether it be lost jobs, COVID, sickness, bankruptcy or whatever.

    They go. Irrespective of circumstances.

    Somehow, these crooks need to start to learn responsibility and morality.

    I will always try my bit to begin the understanding.

  • Lou Valdini

    Oh, how my friends would laugh at me being called a Guardian reader!

    I've been a landlord since 2003 and currently have a tenant who is £3000 in arrears and not budging. I've served a S.8 but am unlikely to get him out until next year some time. I may be angry about the situation, and certainly don't agree with councils coming cap in hand, but I can't see any benefit in casting all LHA tenants in the same light. I have another tenant; single mum, who lost her job at the start of lockdown and had never claimed benefits before, but she had no choice. We helped her obtain her UC and she continued to find the money to pay her rent in full until her UC came through. And before you continue your rant against tenants on LHA, and how you will weed them out during referencing, perhaps you can comment on what you would do if one of your perfectly vetted high IQ tenants suddenly ends up on UC. Do they suddenly become feckless?

    • 19 October 2020 18:48 PM

    Of course they become immediately feckless as they should have savings to cover for sudden income loss.
    But because they are too thick or greedy to bother that is why they are feckless.
    Had the idiots bothered saving to cover for sudden income loss then they wouldn't have any problems.
    It should be standard to build up savings to cover all domestic expenditure for at least a year.

    But no these idiots live life high on the hog til some event brings their butterfly existence crashing down and then it is poor me I need help.

    Well perhaps had they saved and not spent liberally they would be in a relatively secure position for a year at least.

    Fecklessness seems to infect the higher and lower educated.

    Not that I need it but have ensured I have two years of domestic costs because I am not feckless.
    Years since I had a holiday as I saved to cover for sudden income loss.

    The idiots like your tenants are feckless and you have been paying for their fecklessness while you yourself aren't.

    Lucky for them you aren't feckless so you can resource them..
    The concept of saving to cover for sudden income loss doesn't seem to occur to most tenants.

    Probably because they know the State will pick up the bill and LL can't evict them quickly.

    Believe me if LL could boot out rent defaulting tenants quickly like they do in Australia there would be a rapid change of attitude amongst tenants.

    But this will never happen and so fecklessness will continue to be supported by the State.
    Of course LL will be punished by expecting them to cover the costs of rent defaulting tenants.


    @ Paul, agreed, you, me, and many others on here are old school, and were bought up properly with proper values, not the way it is now, now we have the entitled generation who want and expect it all now, new flash cars on the drip, 3 x holidays per year, nights out, designer clothing and all those coffees, then they have the nerve to whinge that they cannot afford to pay their rent, and far less buy a property, it is however this very generation who will have the miserable skint retirement, that is is if they can ever retire, sympathy ? none, zero, self inflected, and well deserved.

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    • 18 October 2020 19:48 PM

    Yes....No payment of rent is, in my view, very feckless. I even consider it thieving and immoral.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    The nerve of Southwark to ask this having sold off a ton of its social housing for premium redevelopment is astonishing and gobsmacking.

    • 19 October 2020 18:56 PM

    The brass neck of councils defies belief

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    • 19 October 2020 20:52 PM


    The problem with all this fecklessness with the entitled generation types is that it is supported by the State.
    Such support has the very serious prospect of bankrupting LL or severely compromising their businesses.

    This is clearly outrageous but Govt justifies such pandering to the feckless on the basis of hoped for electoral advantage.

    Personally I believe the Govt is deluding itself if it honestly believe these feckless entitled GR types will vote Tory.

    So why bother moving away from traditional and correct Conservative values!?

    But there is no doubt that LL are under attack like never seen before.
    There isn't much that LL can do about this.
    Apart from of course subsidise feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    If they don't they will be on course for bankruptcy especially leveraged ones.


    What turns around will come around Paul, it always does in the fullness of time .

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    • 19 October 2020 21:40 PM

    All well and good but not much use to those LL that have been bankrupted by State sponsored fecklessness.


    Yes Paul but the landlords that will be bankrupted will be those that borrowed too much, those that tried to run before they could walk , said it before, and I will say it again, the saying in the motor trade was '' flash with no cash'' cash will be king again.

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    • 19 October 2020 22:47 PM

    All very well but BTL has been based on 75% LTV and 25% pay rate.

    Is that too much leverage!?

    In light of prevailing circumstances it could be said that any leverage in excess of that which could be supported by LHA is excessive leverage.

    Had lenders adopted this lending criteria the PRS would be massively smaller resulting in millions of homeless none of who could afford to buy that LL ultimately bought.

    It could be fairly stated that were it not for lenders and LL risking higher LTV far in excess of what LHA could afford has saved millions from being homeless.
    This in the absence of sufficient social housing

    It would seem despite private LL coming to the rescue of Govt and millions of potential homeless LL are
    being punished for doing so.

    Based on what you assert which is fair enough I believe responsible LL should reduce for financial resilience purposes ALL their leverage to that which could be afforded by the single household LHA rate.

    Doing this would be the financially prudent thing to do.
    Though the resultant millions of homeless tenants might not agree!

    Like it not leverage has housed millions who would be homeless otherwise.

    Whether LL should have ever bothered is a bigger question!?


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