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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlords should not be required to take ‘financial hit on behalf of their tenants’

A number of buy-to-let landlords have worked closely with tenants to support those in rent arrears as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, but ultimately, “it isn’t the responsibility of UK landlords to take this financial hit”, according to a leading letting agent. 

Renters across England and Wales received greater protection in mid-June after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until the latter part of next month, taking the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months. The move was designed to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But with the ban on evictions due to the coronavirus pandemic set to an end on 23 August, allowing landlords to start proceedings to evict tenants if deemed necessary, some renters facing financial hardship could potentially lose their homes unless the government takes urgent action to better support them. 

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, commented:“Many will have found themselves in financial trouble due to the current pandemic, with some unable to pay their rent as a result and there’s no doubt this is a terrible situation to be in.  

“Unfortunately, it isn’t the responsibility of UK landlords to take this financial hit on behalf of their tenants and to expect them to continue to is somewhat unfair, considering they have already done so for some months having had no choice in the matter.

“Those tenants who have found themselves in financial hardship due to the coronavirus have now had time to seek alternative living arrangements without the pressure of eviction. In any other scenario, it’s unlikely they would have been afforded this luxury.

“It’s also incredibly unfair not to consider the landlord in this scenario as many are reliant on rental payments in order to survive and have had no choice but to swallow this loss of income due to the eviction ban.”

von Grundherr acknowledges that there will be a few unscrupulous landlords wanting to evict their tenants, but most have acted in good faith.

He added: “The reality is that the vast majority of landlords have been working with their tenants to reach an agreement that suits all parties, in what has been a tough few months for all. So the reports that many will now end up without a home are perhaps a tad exaggerated at the very least.   

“In contrast, some landlords have been held to ransom by unsavoury tenants who have seen an opportunity to play the game knowing they can’t be evicted.” 

von Grundherr says that his firm has a landlord client who is currently £50,000 out of pocket and while the end of the eviction ban means he can now start proceedings, given the backlog, he is unlikely to even get a court date for three if not four months.

He continued: “If he gets an eviction date it is likely to take another three or four months to get the bailiffs in, so he may have to wait up to eight months to get his property back and by then he will be another £50,000 out of pocket.

“This will be an issue that will now plague the rental market for many months and as ever, landlords are the ones getting hit by ill-thought-out initiatives

“As with most aspects of current life, returning to normality isn't an easy process and there are no quick fixes in many cases. However, return to reality we must and removing the ban on rental evictions is the next, necessary step in doing this within the property industry.”

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    Great post. I agree 100%. When the emotion is taken out of the situation.. landlords are running a business. No one goes into Tesco and walks out with free food!

    jeremy clarke

    If they do and they are caught they are prosecuted, wouldn't it be great if landlords could successfully challenge the thieves that do not pay rent in court?

     
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    @jeremy yeah that would be great unfortunately the only one most likely to be convicted of a criminal offence is a landlord as there is literally nothing that could be used against a tenant unless they actually burn down the property they are renting and even then they are most likely to claim it was an accident and get away scott free!

     
    Patrick  Rodgers

    Right on the nail i have one Tennant who thinks its the end of thw world if the rung for the carpet is not down and has after asking me to put 2 new air bricks in the house which i did now his excuse is its blowing to mush dust in and to solved the problem all he had to do was shut thecover over but oh no thats to ease am not kidding no matter what you do he has something to complain about and there always stupid small things that he picks on to be honest I'll be glad to get shut of him when this is all done and finished with i wouldn't mind if they were big jobs and need doing but there stupid little things that he pick away at and then they become big jobsthe soon this is Finnish with the better and believe me am one of the better landlords i get jobs done as soon as i can that another thing he does like yesterday i turned up to do a few jobs like reseal round the kitchen sink and his excuse for me not doing it is i have to wash the dishes ok i said you do that I'll get on añd do the carpet rung between the door way (before the house falls done according to him) and as usual he said just leave the seal and I'll do it myself he said but i know come Monday he will ring the agency and sayh he did seal round the sink

     
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    It's all part of business. If you haven't planned for possible downs in income, as clearly a lot of the big companies haven't, then you should be in a different job. If you're now sat there with the expensive car in the drive, or the holiday villa in Spain and worrying about your rental income then maybe you should have invested the surplus cash first before splashing out!

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    Yes agreed Andrew and business is all about risk, but what makes you think we all sit here with flash cars in the drive and a holiday villa in Spain ?

     
    Suzy OShea

    What a load of piffle!

    Where are Richard Branson's reserves Eh? He is a billionaire who splashed out millions on researching space travel but he has still applied for government help to meet his wages bill.

    There is no help for landlords, just temporary deferment of mortgage debt which shortens the remaining time to repay this debt.

    Many landlords have small portfolios with limited amounts of reserves. with the downward pressure on rents these past six months and the ban on even renting out empty property from March to June, there are precious few reserves left.

    Why don't you go back to the golden dream of rich landlords and fairy dusted rents, instead of commenting here!

     
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    Andrew, that is a very broad remark and does not represent the majority of landlords. Approximately 5% of the population are landlords and the majority of those are not deemed as professional landlords. Many of them are grouped into 'accidental' landlords and many may only hold 1 or 2 properties. So making the remark like they are all rolling in it really demonstrates ignorance on your part. However, you are correct in that this is a business and should have made provisions where possible! Having said that I don't know that may that have a spare £50,000 in their back pocket in case of emergencies. This is the issue with renting gout very high end. When the payments are made it is great, but miss one or two months and you are going to start feeling the bite! One suggestion I would make, is diversify your portfolio with a ix of property types so that if one stops paying you are not completely screwed!

     
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    As a landlord with 10 properties last year (now 1), yes some will have planned for down time and some will have scraped to get together the funds to buy a rental property. Not all of them are in the same boat. There were times in my early life when I was scraping the barrel after buying a property and relied on rents being paid on time and not falling into arrears to survive. I did not however plan for unscrupulous tenants playing the system and actively looking to steal from me.

    Over the past few years the tenants have got worse. Nowadays they are fraudulent with their applications, disrespectful of properties and looking for any reason to not pay rent. Furthermore, you are the first point of call when it comes to their financial difficulties and that is not something that any of us signed up for. Why should be financing a tenants mismanagement of their finances?

    Just to add with my 10 properties, i didnt have a villa abroad nor a flash car at any point and all through life I have been making sacrifices to get to where I am. Putting the effort in maintaining my investments over having an extravagent or lavish lifestyle!

    I have personally over the last 12 years lost over 50k to bad tenants where they have resided in my properties and taken the opportunities to get one over on me by not paying rent, damaging properties and even making false claims to the local authority against me. This is something that no landlord should have to live with.

    The compound effect of all these factors has led me to sell up all of my properties, with the final one going on the market yesterday. It has been a difficult road but at least I have learned not to go back into it again as all the government cares about is helping out criminals!a

     
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    Government like to forget LL have to pay their bills too. They did not say due to pandemic LL do not have to do gas checks. Not extensions but not gas check extension. Hard as it was to find a gas engineer to come out in April I had to pay extra.

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    Mot

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    “Those tenants who have found themselves in financial hardship due to the coronavirus have now had time to seek alternative living arrangements without the pressure of eviction." is in the article above. Oh dear. As if a tenant who has lost their job due to coronavirus can just find another flat to move into .....with no job income. We're all in this coronavirus crisis together, LLs and tenants. Every tenancy situation is different with different circumstances on both sides. Compromise should be sought wherever possible (and I appreciate it may not always be possible.)

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    David, you are correct but having said that it is still not down to the Landlord (LL) to support every body. 3 months is enough time to make the necessary arrangements and seek alternative accommodation. No one here is saying it is easy. You say we are all in this together, but I am afraid that is NOT the case. There is an uneven playing field and ultimately, the LL is being asked to carry the can for everyone else if they lose their job etc. How are we in it together if a LL is £000's out of pocket with very little chance of recovering it. Yes, a tenant may have lost their job and income but can if needs be sign on. Meanwhile the LL is left with a gaping hole in their income, ongoing mortgage and potentially then is penalised yet further due to interest accumulating and in the worst case scenario may have the property repossessed. So, we are NOT in it together. What we have is help being given to the tenants and the LL being left high and dry to carry their tenant's hardship as well as their own. This is no one's fault and these are the risks that come with business I agree. However, living your life and supporting yourself is not the responsibility of everyone else, that is down to YOU! 3 months is more than enough time to make the necessary searches and if it means moving back in with mum and dad or relatives etc, then so be it. I have worked with my tenants and I still am. My experiences have mainly been positive but there is always going to be one or two challenges. But, my first priority is to MY family, not anyone else's. We need to create a more can do attitude in this country and less of a reliance culture on everyone else that has worked hard and achieved and made a little bit.

     
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    i've more than done my share of accommodating tenants and their finances over the last 12 years. if they are financially irresponsible, then its not my responsibility to help them out. The government has done nothing to help us out in the past 10 years, in fact, quite the opposite they have increased taxes, brought out stringent legislation and regulation and the last straw was making us criminally liable with unlimited fines whilst tenants got off scott free and were given more freedoms than the landlord who owned the property!

    Now they want us to help out tenants again? not a chance in hell. you (LA's) can house these tenants and deal with the regulations you bought in.......... oh wait, those same regulations dont apply to government housing..... smacks of hypocrisy to me!

     
  • James B

    I’ve read that there is a chance they are extending the suspension on evictions this weekend for another 6 months to match wales and Scotland .. Hope not

    Matthew Payne

    I cannot see them doing anything else but that. Another last minute u turn, but only to avoid the political banana skin of not doing so. Drakeford and Sturgeon have backed TwDum and TwDee into a corner. Tenants welfare or landlords plight won't even come into the conversation between Boris & Robert.

     
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    That does seem likely

     
    James B

    But they have been bringing a lot of new requirements in for claims so maybe not .. would seem odd after all the small print introduced to get a claim through

     
    Matthew Payne

    Might not be this weekend, but the pressure will build quickly if not. Politics comes long before policy detail whether introduced, however intricate. Look at the humiliating 11:59pm u turn on A level results and the subsequent early christmas presents to GCSE students to try and make good. Can you imagine Boris trusting the Courts with the decision on evictions, whom he has no control over, when Scotland and Wales have extended the ban? He will be having cold sweats over the first picture of people evicted on the front page of the Sun, with some witty headline that will cost him dear. Yes landlords have to provide details on tenants CV situation, and the implication is that will give tenants some protection. However, what will a Judge do even then, when a landlord shows up proving they haven't paid the mortgage for 6 months and their lender is threatening to repossess, or they themselves have been forced into poverty as this is their main source of income? Will be interesting from this perspective to see the first test cases and what then follows.

     
    Matthew Payne

    Just seen a news flash that it has just been extended until 20 September. ...for now.

     
    James B

    Even worse .. now 6 months notice period

     
    Matthew Payne

    Yes, meaning selling in this stamp duty window is almost impossible now as well.

     
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    So many landlords will get no money for nearly 9 month?
    Outrageous.

  • David Lester

    During lockdown, Tenants have received furlough payments of 80%, Self Employment grants or Universal Credit, what have the Landlords had! and what have they done with the money? If the Government want to extend, then they should, like Wales provide Tenants loans to pay the Landlords, however it should be direct payment.

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    as usual we have been left to fend for ourselves and the tenants.

    last year universal credit even failed to pay me anything from the tenants benefits when she was over 2 months in arrears as she had a child...... so she was left to pocket all of her rent money at my expense for 6 months until she was evicted and given a council house!

    in the last 12 months, my portfolio has shrunk by 90% as I no longer want to be funding or associated with people like that

     
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    Simple fact, it is the government's legal responsibility to look after the financial and housing needs of of the population when needed. This can be either by direct provision of council-owned/run property or by using benefits to ensure that people have the means to afford to stay in their private rented accommodation.

    It is the landlord's responsibility to provide safe and habitable accommodation in exchange for the payment of a fair market rent. It is NOT the landlord's responsibility to provide free or subsidised accommodation at their own expense.

    The whole eviction ban debacle is purely and simply a result of deliberate government policy that pays way below what is needed to provide a viable safety net, forces landlords to cover any losses whilst evictions are banned, and demonises "greedy" landlords for investing in providing a roof over people's heads as a much needed service.

    It is akin to forcing any other service providers to provide their services free of charge, such as water, gas, electricity or internet. In the absence of payment, businesses will simply withdraw, as some are already doing in the housing sector. Those that remain will have to find ways to make the business worthwhile.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I agree with John, and what's wrong with a landlord relying financially on rental income ( perhaps they've only got one inherited property and have to reply on that income to support their living. ) Promulgating the notion of All Landlords having flash cars and Holiday homes is, a) Not true, and b ) Not helpful to Landlords.
    Every landlords finances are different.
    Instead, there should be more legal emphasis placed on Contract holder liabilities to comply.
    If a landlord does stick to the letter of their license the minutiae will soon be swiftly dealt with, but when it comes to tenants, oh that's just a administrative civil triviality that Landlords have got no chance with the totally ineffective Civil Justice ( sic ) system.

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    Yes - They added to the deal that -
    Quote:
    Ministers have extended the ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales until 20 September, following fears thousands could lose their homes.

    In most cases, until the end of March, renters will also get six months' notice if their landlord plans to evict them.

    Which means LL will be waiting for a FULL year.......
    Can it get any worse....

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    cue the vitriol ?

    plus... you will will need 12 months of outstanding amounts when it does kick off again ?

     
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    Seb

    Change the record!

     
  • Paul Barrett

    With a currently vacant flat there is no way that I am prepared to let it unless occupants qualify for a RGI policy that would pay out if there was another pandemic.

    Not even sure if such a RGI policy exists.

    If LL are unable to evict almost immediately for rent defaulting then quite frankly the BTL business model is no longer viable.

    I refuse to let my property with the current eviction regulations.
    But I would let it if I could remove a tenant with Police assistance if necessary after 2 months of arrears.
    That would mean tenant removed after 1 month and 1 day.

    This of course will never happen which is why I am one of the many LL that will be selling up.

    I simply am not prepared for my assets to be used as free social housing.

    I don't care if that leaves me no rental income.
    I'll just put the sale proceeds in a savings account.
    At least no tenant can rob me of that!
    The risk of being bankrupted by feckless rent defaulting tenants just isn't worth it anymore.
    The BTL business model is a busted flush for most LL with mortgages.
    The completely dysfunctional eviction process has seen to that.
    FHL and lodger residential properties make far more business sense

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    Is it possible to get that to happen in 2 months and with the police?
    I seem to think that the tenant could contest the original contract even though they signed it!

     
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    Is it possible to get that to happen in 2 months and with the police?
    I seem to think that the tenant could contest the original contract even though they signed it!

    Paul Barrett

    Nope it's only me dreaming of such a fast eviction process.
    Will never happen I know that.
    But I can dream can't I!?

     
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