The Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, says the government has sympathy for the plight of many landlords during the Coronavirus crisis.
However, there is no indication of any change in legislation or financial help for the sector.
Rees-Mogg was responding to a request by fellow Tory MP Robert Syms, who late last week called for a debate on what he described as a “very unhappy” landlord sector.
Syms told his fellow MPs: “[The private rental sector] provides valuable property for people, yet throughout this crisis landlords have been prevented from managing their properties and evicting people, even those with arrears from well before the crisis.
“I know of landlords who have not been able to evict people exhibiting anti-social behaviour and causing distress to other tenants because of restrictions the government have imposed.
“Some people who could pay rent are not paying rent, but some of the residential landlords are still having to pay mortgages. This is a troubled sector and we should explore all of the issues.”
Rees-Mogg, answering for the government, told the Commons that he was “not unsympathetic” to private landlords facing financial hardship.
“Although we have laid regulations to require bailiffs not to enforce evictions until 11th January, there are exemptions – this is important – for the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour and illegal occupation.
“We are grateful to landlords for their forbearance during this unprecedented time.
“Some may have been able to benefit from postponements of mortgage payments, which have been made available, but we strongly encourage tenants in all relevant government guidance to pay their rent or to have an early conversation with their landlord if they have any difficulty doing so.”
Syms’ unhappiness at government policies towards the private rental sector is not the only Tory criticism recently.
Dr Rosalind Beck, a doctor of Criminology and a Conservative Party member in South Wales, has twice in recent months written on the Conservativehome website that the former eviction ban and other anti-landlord measures have been detrimental to tenants as well as agents and landlords.