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Activists demand furlough-type hand outs to pay tenants’ arrears

Generation Rent is calling for a furlough-type scheme aimed at helping tenants.

The group says that following news of the four week lockdown in England, it wants the government to adopt a ‘Coronavirus Home Retention Scheme’ that would:

- suspend evictions for rent arrears, to ensure that renters who have lost income due to the pandemic do not also lose their home;


- ensure the benefits system covers housing costs, through restoring Local Housing Allowance to the median rent, removing benefit caps, expanding eligibility, and scrapping no recourse to public funds;

- make £750m available to clear the debts for renters and allow landlords to claim for discretionary payments to cover up to 80 per cent of lost income.

The group - led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy - is calling on the government to raise Local Housing Allowance to cover the median rent so that families do not get into debt and to set up a fund to clear the debts of renters who have already got into serious arrears by compensating landlords up to 80 per cent of the rent owed. 

It is also renewing its long-standing call for the abolition of Section 21 evictions “to prevent unnecessary hardship now that courts have reopened.”

After the renewed lockdown ends, the Job Retention Scheme is being replaced by the Job Support Scheme to pay employees working a fifth or more of normal hours at least 74 per cent of their wage, and employees in businesses forced to close 67 per cent of their wages.

Generation Rent claims job sectors including nightlife, entertainment, events and sport face continued restrictions on operations so the end of the 80 per cent guaranteed furlough - now scheduled for December 2 - means many employees face redundancy or reduced income. 

Based on Labour Force Survey data, Generation Rent estimates that of 1.4m employees in these sectors, 341,000 are private renters. Then it says there are a further 62,000 private renters working across Great Britain in sectors that could face closure under Tier 3 measures, including leisure centres, hairdressers and betting shops.

These 403,000 workers will become more reliant on Universal Credit to pay their rent, the campaign says.

Baroness Kennedy says: “As the furlough scheme nears its end, people are worrying about how they will keep their heads above water. More than a million employees are at risk of redundancy and a quarter of them are private renters. 

“Thousands of renters started claiming Universal Credit at the start of the pandemic and have found that it is nowhere near enough to cover the rent they owe. 

“Every month their debt piles up. Without additional support for renters, the government will preside over mass impoverishment of millions of people.”

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    What will happen on the 2 Dec ? same as in April, the lock down will be extended, as we go into winter will this lock down be extended right through to spring ? I think this is very likely .

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    • 02 November 2020 09:49 AM

    Why should all taxpayers have to cough up for people who are unable to take care of their finances and pay for a contract that they have signed and agreed?

    They are legally obliged to pay.

    If they cannot, then they should change to a cheaper rental property and if not, go and bunk with friends.

    It is their social responsibility to fulfil contractual obligations just as everyone else does.

    Are credit card companies accepting to just forget the fecklessness of some who spend multiple cards to the limit. No, they don't, and they take them to court to get their money back. Rightfully so.

    These people MUST be made to understand their responsibilities.

    How come LL are expected to support those who default!!!!! No other organisation is expected to do so.

    I bet they will have enough cash to buy the vast brood of kids they have, and buckets of booze and food for the Xmas week and beyond.

    Pay you you lazy feckless cheaters and thieves.

    • 02 November 2020 10:47 AM

    Unfortunately fecklessness is baked into the system.

    Govt is not minded to facilitate LL access to their properties to be able to trade.

    It saves Govt billions by making Private LL effectively house rent defaulting tenants for free.

    They know politically that free stuff plays well with the electorate.
    They know nobody is bothered if LL lose money or are put out of business.

    Govt knows LL will do their utmost fo avoid bankruptcy.
    Effectively LL have become de facto lenders of last resort to the Govt.
    Saves Govt billions in housing costs and isn't repayable!!

    Of course Govt doesn't like to mention the LL tax receipts will be much reduced.
    Can't tax LL on fictitious income..............................................whoops sorry Govt can courtesy of the bonkers S24!

    So mortgaged sole trader LL now have no rent coming in and yet have to pay for the costs of a tenancy plus S24 taxes.

    How long is that doable!?


    Wow what a load of drivel, many working people are on low income the very same ones that pack your shelves make up your amazon orders and so on, many are on zero hours contracts, if they cant pay their rent its not because they booze it away, you just made that up, banks etc have frozen interest to help people etc, you sound a very nasty person to be honest

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    Give them loans to cover arrears provided they now move out if landlords want them to - but no more free handouts to make up for their indolence.

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    • 02 November 2020 09:59 AM

    And they need to pay interest on their loan too......no matter how low or high it is.


    your all heart

    • 02 November 2020 18:47 PM

    No - Just realistic and business orientaded.

    If thet don't pay, they have to accept the concequences.

    Just as have to with my buiness.

    Like everyting......it is a business.

    Emotion is not involved.

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    Baroness Kennedy could perhaps ask Government to remove S24.

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    Everybody know how to solve many of the problems except the MP's! We are nearing the point where the PRS will rear up and bite them. Already Local Authorities are desperate for landlords to take their Benefit tenants, my reply "You take the [financial] risk and I will take the tenant".

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    Thats why selling of council homes was stupid & relying on the PRS to supply home short sighted, if they had not sold them off and built more or brought more from homes for sale then you wouldnt have needed as many prs properties saving you from all the problems you say or think you have, problem solved.

    • 02 November 2020 15:46 PM

    You are of course totally correct the massive taxpayer subsidy paid to council house tenants was and is an outrageous use of taxpayer monies.

    If I hire a RR I don't expect to receive a Govt subsidy to buy it!!
    RTB should be banned forever.
    If social housing tenants want to own a property then they should compete in the open market with others with NO assistance from Govt.

    RTB is an outrageous misuse of Govt / taxpayer funds.

    Council/social housing is a National asset that should NEVER be sold off unless at full market price with ALL sale proceeds being invested in other social housing wherever it may be.
    No way should social housing tenants be given taxpayer subsidies to buy their rental properties.


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    If you are old enough to work, have kids, drive or get married, have sex legally, I cannot fathom why you cannot prioritise keeping a roof over your head. No way should they receive money for rent. That money should go directly to landlords and operate like a student loan so the tenant pays it back to the public coffers. With interest.


    Ironically, many of the underclass take student loans (knowing they're unlikely to ever earn enough to repay it) for mickey mouse courses.

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    • 02 November 2020 16:00 PM


    While you may be correct that many tenants are unable to meet their rent commitments through no fault of their own that doesn't justify them poncing off their LL who now has to resource the rental accommodation without rent.

    That is impossible to achieve.

    Tenants should offer to vacate if they are unable to pay the rent.

    But of course none of them will do this because of the way the housing; welfare and eviction system is set up.

    All these tenants on poor wages etc did they not over the YEARS have the opportunity to SAVE!!??

    But they expect the LL to have savings to subsidise their feckless lifestyles.
    How is that correct pray tell!?


    Literally no different to the homeless sitting down to dine in a restaurant, then refusing (out of necessity) to pay.

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    To my mind its not the Government that sold off the the Social Housing it s the so called needy poor Tenants that were kept by the Benefit System and their Family's reared for them for free. I bought 2 such Houses that were originally Council Houses but I paid the Market value for them. However, for example ONE I bought was £207k some years back, when I got all the paper work afterwards it showed it has been bought for £22k right to buy by Tenant with discount from the Council, so what did Council get out of that sugar all. Some Social Tenants having a laugh for sure.

    • 02 November 2020 16:06 PM

    Indeed many of those who took advantage of RTB are now back on benefits or in social housing.
    They p####d away the equity in their RTB properties.

    Some people just cannot be trusted.
    They should remain tenants


    Paul This is EXACTLY what has happened on a lot of RTB. Council tenant gets an opportunity to buy property for half market value then screws the equity out. Loses the home then gets LHA or unbelievably another council house. The losers are the taxpayers. This is something that GR & Dave Edmunds should realise but that doesnt suit their agenda. Their thinking is the tenant is never to blame for whatever happens


    Drive around these council estates and see how many flash new cars there are, buy the property at a massive discount, re mortgage , then go out to play, there is a reason people live in council houses, they are financially illiterate .

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    Wales and Scotland have bailed them out with these hardship loans, England will follow suit, these loans will never be paid back


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