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Generation Rent wants government to write off Covid arrears

The Generation Rent campaign wants the government to write off private renters’ arrears built up during the pandemic.

And it has repeated its call for the government to increase the Local Housing Allowance to help those private renters with Covid-related rent debt. 

The campaign says government figures produced in its Household Resilience Survey, conducted over the summer, suggest that 569,000 private renter households in England are either behind with rent or “at risk of arrears in the summer.”


Baroness Alicia Kennedy, who leads the campaign, says: "To put struggling renters back on their feet, the government must increase Local Housing Allowance to cover average rents and provide grants to clear the rent debts that have built up.”

A statement from Generation Rent selects statistics from the survey which show that seven per cent of private renters were currently in rent arrears, up from three per cent in 2019-20. 

It claims that a further nine per cent of private renters said they were very or fairly likely to fall behind with rent payments in the next three months, representing approximately 290,000 households.

Some 35 per cent of private renters are also said to have reported that their household monthly income had decreased by at least £100 due to Covid-19, while the number of private renters who say they expect to buy a home in the future fell from 59 per cent to 49 per cent over the past year. 

Those on furlough were more likely to currently be in rent arrears - some 17 per. cent of those on furlough were currently in rent arrears, compared to nine per cent who were not on furlough.

Baroness Kennedy continues: ”These new official figures show just how hard private renters have been hit by the pandemic. Government support has not been enough to stop rent arrears doubling, which is causing severe hardship and crushing the hopes and dreams of thousands.”

The government has not responded to the Generation Rent statement. 

However, in September the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government disputed other selected figures quoted by the campaign regarding the number of households that had been served eviction notices. At the time the MHCLG described the figures as “unreliable and misleading.”

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  • George Dawes


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    • 18 December 2020 07:59 AM

    Despite the Virus and all that brings with it, debts are payable by the people who have the debt.
    It is not an issue for LL's or the Government to pay the debts of the whole country!!!!!

    Sad thing is that over time, the Govt. will put heavy taxes in place to recoup the debt and those like me, who have paid all my debts and invoices, will be be punished whilst doing the right and responsible thing.


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    Cannot be done, the debt is owed to private landlords, not to the government, I have a tax bill coming due at the end of Jan, will the government be telling HMRC to write that off ?

  • Mark Wilson

    Never say neve and like commercial landlords BTL will take a kicking, as have tenants.


    Unlike commercial tenants, most private tenants should have been able to continue paying rents with no booze, clothes, holidays, travel etc. to be paid for. Rent, heat and food are all that should be regarded as essential and be properly budgeted for ahead of sky TV, fancy phones and leased cars etc.

    Anyone who genuinely could no longer afford rent should have moved to cheaper accommodation or in with friends or family. Most landlords would have waived future liabilities due under the tenancy agreement in return for prompt return of the property in good condition.

    As I said yesterday - Why do poorer people think they should have the same as richer people? I have found the harder I work the more I can afford. Why should those not working or working less think they deserve to afford the same?


    Ah the bitter letting agent is back trolling. Is it true you don’t look out of the window in the morning as it leaves you nothing to do in the afternoon.

    Commercial tenants got closed down unable to generate money Private Tenants got furlough money - remember.

    Mark Wilson

    Good luck Robert, sweet dreams.



    I dream very sweetly thanks. My biggest frustration over the last nine months is seeing my bank balance grow and not be able to enjoy such fruits of around 50 years hard work and enterprise. Roll on 2021 and the removal of rent dodgers and their excuses - and the return of opportunities to enjoy hard earned wealth for the enterprising working classes of all socio economic levels.

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    Commercial properties are totally different, I still have a couple however I will not rent to a LTD company I will only rent to named individuals, The government can write off debts owed to it's self but not to others they would need to get a law passed to do that, it would never get through parliament.

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    Well what a surprise! She’s a Labour Politician.
    Obviously lives in Cloud Cuckoo land as do all Socialists.

    A better message to give to People is that they are in charge of their own destiny, and should not expect others to Pay their debts.

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    When the supermarkets give out free food and the utilities give out free gas, electricity and water then free rent should follow. Until then people should pay for necessities and cut back on non-essentials.

    The Govt has handed out money by the bucketful to people who have been furloughed or made redundant - whose money? Our money! We all pay.

    I am sorry for those who have been impacted by the pandemic but they must understand that the world has now shifted and they need to move with it not stand there bleating with their hands out!

  • girish mehta

    Go do have built up expection for these groups. If you shout loudest, create media stories then politicians will pass laws to please them in order to get their votes. Simple divide and rule. Now they have their way for so long they expection have increased and want more freebies . And hold politicians to ransom for their votes.
    They have taught these groups to break laws indirectly by not paying rent and eviction bans and paying 80% of their wages.
    Well come to new privilege class. Whilst the rest of us get punished for working hard to pay higher taxes and fines to keep roof over these free loaders. No doubt if baroness get her way she will be a new minister or even a prime minister .
    Why work hard might as well give up and join them

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    Mr Crisp exactly right Government can't pay everyone's debt's they are handing out too much already, we pay huge taxes and the more we pay the more we are penalized, the less people pay the more they are rewarded or if contribute nothing better still you get everything, hence single parent family's replaced the traditional family unit. I see one guy who has 7 children by 4 different women never reared any of them, the State did and supplied them all with good housing as well, and he is quiet wealthy sure we could all be when someone else pick up the tab. As a famous President one said ask not what the Government can do for you but what you can do for your Country.

    • 18 December 2020 16:44 PM

    And if they put my taxes up, all that will happen will be that my Rental Prices will increase at the the tax amount + 15%.

    Simple - I will refuse to lose money by this Govt. feckless throwing money to people who will never pay it back.

    Not my issue. My business is to make money, and not to pay for others debts.

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    “Those on furlough were more likely to currently be in rent arrears - some 17 per. cent of those on furlough were currently in rent arrears“

    Back to this again if you getting 80% without having to work or spend other than food and utilities then you are spending the rent money with Paddy Power or you never could afford the rent even if you were working. Time to move back to Mum & Dads and unfortunately only the box room is available.

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    • 18 December 2020 16:36 PM

    They are better off than when they were working!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lou Valdini

    My tenant is certainly better off than before covid. He is self-employed and hasn't stopped working throughout. He has claimed all his government handouts and received a tax rebate, but decided he didn't need to pay his rent in March... because the landlord (me) didn't have to pay his mortgage, so he shouldn't have to pay his rent. Oh, and thought it acceptable to hold wild drug-fuelled parties and intimidate his neighbours at all hours. S.8 served for 6 months arrears and nuisance, but who knows when it will get to court, and then, when I can kick his sorry arse out. I'll shut up now!


    Well hopefully it will happen at some point in the next 12 months, then he will have that record of an S8, personally I would also go the money claim online route as well, not expensive and dead easy to do, then he'll have a CCJ which will screw his self employed business up , no landlord is going to want to touch him in the future


    I agree with Andrew but I would tell him if he moves out now with no arrears he will avoid the ccj. Either way, you win. An earlier repossession with a climb down and humiliation or screwing up his business.

  • Lou Valdini

    I certainly intend to make a money claim. I have no expectation of getting any money from him, but as you say, he needs to realise his actions have the most severe consequences, and when he can't find a decent place to live, he may just think.. if I'd paid my rent when I had the money, instead of thinking I'm so clever ripping-off my poor old landlord who can't touch me, I'd still be living in that lovely, warm, safe apartment.

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    Lou Valdini- very important just before eviction not before court hearing to notify all letting agents and landlords in same county all his details then he will be only offered the poorest properties, emergency b&b, his mates sofa or better still a park bench

    Mark Wilson

    Too much time on your hands


    Ah but time well spent Mark although not as good as lazing on a sun drenched beach which I am sure you know is how landlords usually spend our winter months!

  • Lou Valdini

    Ha Ha! Funny you should say that... I've definitely had too much time on my hands since March, when my day job disappeared and I got covid. Time for retirement, I thought. So, I popped over to Dubai to visit my son last week, and spent time lazing on a sun-drenched beach, sipping cold beer. I can see why tenants think they shouldn't have to pay their rent when their landlords have such an easy life! I came back to an offer of a part-time contract, so retirement no longer beckons... for 2021 at least.


    Gosh! What a coincidence! I was the Scottish guy on the next sun bed drinking champagne and accompanied by a bevy of bikini clad beauties.....or was that in one of my sweet dreams, courtesy of Mark?

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    • 19 December 2020 15:26 PM

    I was there too. I wish I had known you were you!!!!!!!
    We could have had a discussion about discounted cash flow and its relevance to the long term economic growth of third world countries and their gold reserves with regard to inflation impact on Fiji.

    Would have been fun.


    Sorry. I don't discuss those things when I am with my bikini clad beauties- at least not until I wake up!

    But perhaps another time? Maybe we should invite some others. Who would you suggest?


    Robert, I hope you would invite Mr T , there's still life in this old dog yet



    Consider yourself invited.BYOB which is short for bring your own bikini!
    PS. Don't forget the champagne too!

  • Lou Valdini

    The most important discussion was where to go for dinner!


    As long as we don't have a balanced diet!

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    ha ha... I've been away for a couple of months - only came back to check on your health and well-being !..

    I see that you're all still spouting the same vile sewage


    Sad sad man Seb.

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    Back to the article for a moment. I would like to question how, if 17% on furlough are in arrears and 9% not on furlough are in arrears, does that average out at 7% overall being in arrears. Please can someone explain the maths?


    Cannot answer that one, I don't know whether any of my tenants are furloughed , I do know that they have all been paying in full and on time all through so far, the only tenant I've lost is a commercial tenant of 24 yrs sadly, however I have re let that property, and had 4 people fighting over it, all the landlords I speak to here in Norwich aren't having any problems either, so it's not all bad news, well so far anyway.


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