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By Ben Beadle

Chief Executive, NRLA

TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Coronavirus: NRLA's chief exec on supporting landlords at this crucial time

With the rapid spread of coronavirus across the country, more and more landlords are asking what they need to be doing to protect and support their tenants.

What we are facing is an unprecedented situation – with circumstances changing sometimes hourly - and in terms of letting there is no ‘one size fits all’ response.

While these are uncertain times, one thing is for sure; it is inevitable that some tenants will struggle to meet their rent payments as a result of coronavirus.

This could be through the need to self-isolate, the closure of a workplace, reduced hours the need to provide childcare…. the list goes on.

In these circumstances we are advising landlords to be as flexible as possible when it comes to supporting tenants who are facing financial difficulties.

This could mean deferring payments until tenants are back in work or, if they are in a position to, offering rental holidays to help ease the financial burden.

We are also offering practical help and advice that landlords can share with tenants to help stop the spread of the virus, particularly in properties such as HMOs where groups of people are living together in close proximity.

While landlords must keep themselves informed of up to the minute official advice as regards coronavirus, we have produced a series of resources to help members during this difficult time.

This includes a fact sheet – endorsed by both the NLA and RLA - outlining landlords’ responsibilities and linking to government guidance which offers practical tips and expert advice on how to get it right.

In addition to this we are also calling for a package of measures from government and mortgage lenders to support landlords and their tenants affected by the coronavirus and are receiving daily briefings direct from MHCLG on the situation. 

We are asking for a temporary scrapping of the five week wait before Universal Credit claimants get their first payment, pausing the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax and ensuring lenders look sympathetically on requests by landlords for mortgage payment holidays where their income is being affected through reduced or non-payment of rent.

While – at the time of going to press – no lender had specifically offered mortgage payment holidays on buy-to-let products some said they would make decisions on a case by case basis.

Despite the severity of the challenges facing us, we are seeing positive stories come to light from both landlords and tenants.

Landlords have already been in touch to say they are proactively approaching tenants to reassure them, and tenants taking to social media to thank their landlords for their offers of support.

These are difficult times, but what is important right now is that we pull together as an industry to support each other through them.

For more go to our dedicated coronavirus webpage.

*Ben Beadle is the National Residential Landlords Association's (NRLA) new chief executive.

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    Already had one request for a rent holiday. I have insisted it is not a holiday and all arrears to be paid by a certain date.

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    How about whatever deductions I get I will pass on to the tenant I’d do that. So if the mortgage co, insurance co gas boiler insurance electric certification legionnaires check EPC etc and all my workmen for repairs & taxman for invisible earnings all agree to wipe the slate I will GLADLY pass to the tenant hey we could do this all the time be great

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    This is our opportunity to show we are not the hard nosed heartless selfish b******* the press and everyone else portrays us as. Working with tenants to find a way through this is just good business sense! On the other hand we could decide to play hard ball, lose our tenants, not manage to find new ones, give the press even more ammunition to fire at us and leave the door wide open for the government to keep piling more pain on us. We will reap what we sow everyone, maybe, just maybe this is where we get the chance to get the government to ease the relentless attack on us... Opportunity knocks!!

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    You are dreaming, government / councils, shelter, G R ease their relentless attack on us ? never going to happen, I treat people as they treat me.

     
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    Thank you for this Dominic, my thoughts exactly but there seem to be a number of heartless landlords writing on here. I've already been in touch with my tenants and would help them in anyway I can because they are good tenants and I wouldn't want to lose them. We want to be seen as a business like any other, in which case we need to react like other businesses and treat our customers (tenants)/employees with respect. Yes I know lots of landlords complain about their bad tenants but my view is if you hate your tenants then you shouldn't be in this business. Yes it's a perfect opportunity for good PR and it's not going to last forever, it could all be over by end of May/June (I would say God Willing if I believed in God).

     
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    Oh and also a message to the NLRA this is your opportunity too to find the good news stories out there and get your positive PR engine going showing how we , the mass majority of good responsible and diligent landlords, can be part of the housing solution. Your strategy of doom and gloom, threats and scare mongering has been completely hopeless and a total failure not least because most of the predictions have proved wrong. You’ve been preaching to the wrong people, the government don’t care they just do what the press and public opinion says they should do. The Press and general public sadly hate us and see us as the cause of all our housing woes ... FACT!! So this is your opportunity to support us by sending out some positive messages for a change ... come on NLRA prove your worth!

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    Did Boris not propose Tax Holiday for Landlords ????????

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    That made me laugh!!!!
    :-)

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    I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking this Karen! Some of the comments just leave me with my head in my hands!

  • Daniela Provvedi

    @Dominic and @Karen we're not all bad "on here". Please don't tar us all with the same brush.

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    Hey Daniela we are not. It’s just the bulk of the messages posted appear to be the type that then lead to the government and press to tar us landlords with the same brush. I and Karen clearly have more positive views than many and hopefully you are the same. It’s just we tend to be quieter, the angry ones are more vocal so I thought it was time we spoke up!

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    Whilst I am in broad agreement with being more positive, I can also see where Paul is coming from.
    We are seen as an easy target for criticism, by governments and pressure groups alike.
    Before any of this pandemic happened, there was a relentless assault on landlords by the government, with changes to eviction processes, deposits and tenant fees and the introduction of various new regulations with the threat of more to come.
    So far I have been lucky with my tenants and none has asked me for a 'rent holiday'.
    However, I would definitely have to consider this concession if the need were ever to arise in the near future. I do not wish to lose any of them.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    @ karen letherby

    I think you have a rose tinted view of the PRS.
    Us LL are forced to be hard nosed when it comes to our survival.
    The reason!?
    The banks don't care so we have to pass on that uncaring attitude to the tenants.
    I'm sure we'd all love to offer forbearance to our tenants.

    Unfortunately very few LL have such resources to subsidise feckless tenants lifestyles.
    After all there has been nothing to stop tenants saving up to cover rent when wages don't get paid.

    Why should the supplier use their resources to subsidise tenants.

    For LL able and willing to offer forbearance then good luck to them.

    Personally I am not able to do so.
    Consequently I have no alternative than to be hard nosed about tenants paying rent.

    Nobody can accuse LL of not behaving correctly.
    There should be NO expectation that any LL should let tenants off from paying rent.
    If they choose to that makes them NO better than those who can't or won't.

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    RNLA is the only body we have to represent us, unfortunately the Membership is so small @ 80 thousand by comparison to the large number of Private Landlords out there of 2.5 million so a greater number of LL's needs to join and play their part instead of complaining and at same time powerless to do anything.
    Why don't RNLA have TV adverts requesting £10's from each LL, (or public) 2.5m x 10 or every month if necessary to be properly represented. The organisation who don't supply Housing have no qualms about doing this on ITV (which should be banned) , or if we need to be a Registered as a Charity become one, indeed many of us could qualify to being a Charity now I have six Houses with virtually no Rent. The writhing was on the wall already anyhow with the distorted market by rogue help to buy / help to get into trouble schemes (over priced by £100k Flats) whereby that was all tax free + incentives. Private LL's in contrast were loaded with taxes, penalties, regulations, licensing and spurious fines, who own a huge chunk of existing traditional housing stock & housing up to 20m people, thrown to the Wolf's which was guaranteed to stall the economy even without corona, talk about the tail wagging the dog.

    Paul Barrett

    Rather than encouraging all LL to pay £10 pm to the the new NRLA.............why not £1 pm!?
    2.5 million LL.
    £12 per year.
    That works out at quite a few millions.
    Would any LL for £12 per year NOT join the NRLA?
    What could the NRLA do with £2.5 million per month as far as advancing LL interests!?

     
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    Well that would be great £30m pa, is better and borne by 2.5m LL's, instead of 80'000 LL's shouldering the full cost @£85 (85 x 80k) = only £6.8m but too many LL's sits back and make no contribution whatsoever and wait with eyes wide open to see how they can benefit from any concessions we might achieve. Honestly you don't get much for a £1 those days, if you give it to your kid for sweets they would probably throw it at you, or if I go to post a letter the parking meter takes it yet you won't get it out of some LL's with a can opener.

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