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Government urged to introduce hardship loans for tenants in England

The government is once again being urged to follow the example set in Wales and Scotland and develop interest free, guaranteed hardship loans to help tenants pay off rent arrears built as a result of the existing pandemic. 

Research by YouGov for the National Residential Landlords Association shows that the total rental income lost by private landlords with properties in England as a result of Covid-19 could be as high as £437m. 

The study found that almost a fifth of landlords had lost up to half of their usual rental income. 


Chris Norris, policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “Our research still shows that private landlords across England have faced rental loses of up to £437m  as a result of COVID-19.

“It is vital that the government now follows the example set in Wales and Scotland and develops interest free, government guaranteed hardship loans to help tenants pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic. 

“We cannot expect them, or landlords, the vast majority of whom are individuals without the means to absorb significant losses, to continue to struggle without support.”

The NRLA has welcomed the Winter Economy Plan announced by the chancellor yesterday but it insists that more is needed to support tenants - and landlords. 

Norris commented: “We welcome the government’s measures to subsidise wages. We warned that the end of the furlough scheme ran the risk of many households facing further difficulties in paying their rents.” 

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  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    Great idea.

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    Bad idea... The Scottish/Welsh interest free loans are funded by the UK tax payer anyway, and the total amounts are insignificant.

    And they're still begging at the table while asking for IndyRef 2 ?!?

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Gov should do one of Two things ;
    1. Pay Genuine Covid-affected tenants rent direct to Landlords, or
    2. Release Unfettered access to Civil justice [sic] so that ( many of the ) Tenants them become the responsibility of local Authorities ( Read Local Govt )

    What isn't acceptable is using Private Landlords to fund the Welfare States Housing responsibilities. !


    Agree with you entirely !.. provided the LL is on the certified, licensed, Council-approved list, and just for good measure, Crisis, Shelter, YMCA and Battersea dogs home too.

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    Agreed, not sure why landlords have to bear the cost of all this


    You're not bearing the cost, you're just losing income !


    Yet again, lack of business acumen, Seb. Lost income and costs affect the same side of the balance sheet!

  • Mark Wilson

    Is the take away from this that in the new world BTL Landlords should assume that their income will fall? Like the dividend from a share, nothing should be relied on. With no gearing BTL Landlords can probably survive, those who added the risk of gearing may not be in such a good position.


    We should assume that monies owed to us are paid in full, just as any other business would assume. I do agree however those that have borrowed too much may be finding the next year difficult, and that is the risk they took when they borrowing too much.

    Mark Wilson

    Andrew, nothing wrong in being an optimist!


    Mark, can I ask you, what do you do for a living ?


    Andrew, is it really, really important... or will his profile suffice ?

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    • 25 September 2020 11:49 AM


    But certainly Landlords do not deserve to have money stolen from them and especially so, that even after the thefts, the Govt., The Judiciary and The Police just stand by, watch and do nothing.


    Now in any civilised country, is that fair and right? YES or NO


    YES - for every positive, there must be a negative.

    What do you think the word 'risk' means ?

    Mark Wilson

    Don't worry, rent controls will be coming our way soo. I can't see how they can be avoided.


    There are lots the two above can't see or understand!

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    Its sort of good if this goes through for the sake of the smaller or inexperienced LL at risk of going through hardship themselves. I still think the majority should quit their homes & go back to Mum & Dad where possible. This would reduce the overall liability to the tax payer. We as LL can then still be in a position to rent to a family that would otherwise be homeless.

    GR/Shelter will u turn on this when advising the rent shirkers to not apply for the loan as the Gov have more chance of being paid back than us. What these lot don't realise is by their actions the rental pool is evaporating fast!

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    • 25 September 2020 16:26 PM

    @seb forbes

    Most LL understand the concept of risk.

    Every other business in the UK is permitted to withdraw their services from consumers.
    This is NOT the case with LL who are legally compelled to provide services for free.
    This cannot be right.
    The fact that a LL being able to stop immediately providing a service if not paid renders the consumer homeless is no responsibility of LL.

    If someone is starving and can't afford to buy food from a supermarket the supermarket is NOT legally obligated to provide free food.

    Currently the risk to LL of being unable to remove rent defaulting tenants is inordinate.

    This is hardly a fair risk though of course it is now a risk that LL must be cognisant of.

    The logical outcome for many LL would be to de-risk.
    Selling up or delveraging is a logical response to the increased risk of not being able to get rid of rent defaulting tenants in a timely fashion.

    LL won't be suffering losses in selling up.
    Prices won't be reducing by 20%.
    If anything prices are slightly increasing.

    So LL can still sell up.
    Yes there would be a CGT bill to pay.

    In light of what will surely be increased CGT bills it might be worthwhile LL selling some properties and increasing their financial resilience.

    It makes financial sense for LL to reduce the numbers of highly leveraged properties.
    This I intend to do.
    I consider the industry standard of 75% LTV far too high.
    50% LTV should be the maximum allowed for BTL.
    Or rather BTL should be based on what could be funded by HB.
    That might reduce leverage to 30% LTV.
    No bad thing in my book.
    It would of course be devastating for tenants who would see massive reductions in rental stock availability.

    That would just be TOUGH.
    LL only have a duty for themselves to financially survive.
    If that causes tenant homelessness then that is of no concern or responsibility of LL

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    We need to set rents at levels that customers can afford. We should not be going to the government with begging bowls.

    • 25 September 2020 17:35 PM

    Absolute twaddle.
    LL should set market rents.
    Such rents may not be affordable for many.
    If not then LL of course would need to reduce rents.
    That is how a market operates.

    However if rents are insufficient for property viability then inevitably LL sell up leaving far fewer rental properties available with those remaining costing even more.


    Echis - You are absolutely right name the level of rent you wish to pay make sure you leave enough for your Friday & Saturday nights out, mini breaks & two holidays a year, gym membership that you only used twice in January & I will sort you out a place to match your budget


    Who's going to the government with a begging bowl ? businesses set their prices to cover exspences plus a profit, that's how businesses work , that could be car sales, house sales, or rents, the more costs that we are saddled with the more rents will increase, we want our rents paid, if they are not paid at some point in time those non paying tenants will find them selves out on the streets, and all landlords will know who they are.

  • George Dawes

    The Govt wants rid of Private LL's that's obvious , along with most sme's . Too much hassle when they're bankrolled by their rich banker elite pals. Totally corrupt political system as ever.

    I fear for the future , look at this corona drivel , 0.2% mortality rate and affects only over 80's with underlying health concerns ...

    Things are not what they seem

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    • 26 September 2020 08:03 AM

    CV19 has been a very convenient device to 'encourage' even more LL to sell up.

    S24 has been slow to affect many LL to force them out of business.

    Govt has contributed to this 'encouragement' by preventing LL from repossessing their properties from feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    There is no way that the UK Govt will assist LL like the Scottish and Welsh Govts intend to do.

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    The uk is in a terrible financial state caused in no small way by mismanagement by 3 clueless persons in charge of us whether it be Premier, Chancellor or Housing Secretary, throwing hundreds of billions or trillions away willy-nilly. Furlough disaster giving huge sums of money to Companies, individuals and self employed unnecessarily so. Suppose there was no Furlough people would have suffered a great deal but would have made do in the circumstances its not a famine, thousands would have also have died rip but probably not more than 40'000, people would woken up immediately took control of their lives and gone out of their way all over the Country to protect themselves and look out each other naturally no need for anyone to tell them. Just because the Government is looking after them, they don't care, have the money many can't believe their luck they got so much, then they do exactly opposite to what the Government tells them if they had to take the responsibility for themselves & others (or die) it wouldn't have happened so the trillions are wasted really. What now purports to be surveys of every kind some say 58% others say 70% to increase taxes by 10% for high earners, the participation's will be the usual non tax payers & false Benefit Claimants. I am already a 45% tax payer just for working 7 day's a week continuously for last 58 years since I left school, no free or further schooling for me but I am required to contribute & pay for everyone else. Trillion of pounds wasted bringing the UK to its knees by 3 individual who haven't a clue and born into riches or acquired it by spurious means.

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    Mark. I currently have 6 properties in arrears 4 seriously, in your New World of rent controls ((previously I think you were saying rent freeze) does this mean I will be guaranteed to get my full rent money or will it be partial control upwards only.

    Mark Wilson

    Great point, I could see a situation where annual rents being subject to an RPI increase minus a % so they ease earlier over the years.


    Rate caps on energy has been a great success (sarcasm or irony for those who can't recognise it!). Energy is capped at around £300 more for the feckless than sensible customers can get by shopping around. Rent caps would be the same. History shows rent controls don't work and only market forces prevail in the medium to longer term.

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    • 26 September 2020 14:03 PM

    Unfortunately fecklessness abounds in society.
    The ultimate expression of which has been with Govt forcing LL to provide free accommodation to feckless tenants!!!

    Just ######g unbelievable.
    Govt has enshrined in law the ability for tenants to ponce off LL.

    No thought by Govt that LL might not have the resources to support such free accommodation.

    Just not a care whether or not they can just an expectation they would and if not well.......................TOUGH!!

    Outrageous behaviour by a Govt who for 2 million of its citizens has very effectively suspended property rights because of millions of feckless tenants who couldn't be bothered to save for a 'rainy day' or have insurance to cover sudden income loss.
    Yet Govt expects LL to have 'rainy day ' resources!!

    Since when does a UK business have to have sufficient resources to ensure it is able to provide free services to it's clients!!??
    Well apparently by Govt edict LL must provide these free services.

    Why Govt believe this is acceptable behaviour beats me!?

    I can only consider it is for political expediency and of course to save millions in supporting tenants to pay their FULL CONTRACTUAL RENT


    There are companies in the UK that are millions in debt... they provide employment to 100s/1000s of people... who have to spend that money to stay alive - who is going to worry about Paul Barrett ?


    I'm certainly not in support of society or companies having to support anyone who hasn't contributed or isn't contributing!

    The world has far too many people as it is. Perhaps the Chinese could make a virus that targets the non producers - the old, infirm, those living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions, those too stupid to obey social distancing etc.

    Wonder if such a virus could be made and how successful it would achieve these objectives?


    Robert, would that be the "sarcasm or irony for those who can't recognise it!" coming out again ?



    The world has far too many people who are consuming our resources much too quickly. The green protesters have a valid point but they aren't doing enough to solve the problem. They need to gather closely together in their millions, not just a few thousand at a time when demonstrating or holding up the traffic, if they are going to have any effect on saving the planet!

    The students seem to be showing them how it should be done. I forgot to add them to my list of non-contributors but they seem to have realised their status as such and agreed to self-inoculation of the Chinese virus ( title courtesy of Donald Trump - talking of non-contributors reminded me of him!).

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    • 26 September 2020 14:40 PM

    @ seb forbes

    The difference is that those companies have an opportunity to trade albeit there are some trading restrictions and they will be temporary.

    They won't be forced to provide free services for up to 2 years like LL are being forced to.

    Hardly fair!

    Govt just couldn't stomach the electoral fall out of millions of homeless tenants so it decided to abuse further a much derided societal group; namely LL.

    As I have stated on many occasions it is only the dysfunctional eviction process that facilitates feckless tenants.
    They don't have this problem in Australia where Police are able to remove rent defaulting tenants after 14 days.
    That is how it should be in the UK.

    Govt is being the proverbial bully especially because it knows society doesn't care at all about LL not being paid for their services.

    How is that acceptable!?

    But as LL we are where we are.
    My response will be to leave the PRS.

    As a businessman I am no longer prepared to be abused by Govt this way.

    Govt won't be able to force me to provide free accommodation services when I am no longer an AST LL.
    There are plenty of other ways of making money out of residential accommodation assets.
    This I hope to do where I won't be subject to ridiculous Govt edicts and where I can't be bullied to provide free stuff to feckless people.


    You are foolish if you think that you could find a full-fee paying client if your current one was evicted... therefore, it sounds like you would rather the property remain empty if no income is to be generated ?

    Ultimately, there is no difference... and life is not fair !


    There are still plenty of solvent potential tenants looking for better properties so only the lower quality properties will be difficult to re-let other than to undesirable tenants.


    Robert, are you making a blanket statement on behalf the whole UK, or would you like to qualify it ?


    Fair point (for once!). My posts should all be assumed to begin with "in my experience" but then everyone should only speak from experience - although that would severely limit the number of posters and posts on this platform!

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    • 26 September 2020 16:40 PM

    @seb forbes

    Fortunately I am far from foolish and am able to source full rent paying occupants.

    However I accept that potentially new occupants could well stop paying rent.

    So currently I consider I am living a charmed life.
    I intend to ensure that my circumstances remain charmed.
    This I can only realistically achieve by selling up and investing in different types of residential accommodation.
    This will result in my occupants being made homeless unless I am able to achieve full retail price whilst they are still in occupation.
    The issues that have arisen for the PRS must be giving many LL pause for thought as to how or whether they intend to continue.
    I hope that the PRS substantially shrinks to be a less leveraged but higher charging industry

    This means millions of homeless tenants but quite frankly I simply don't care about the plight of tenants.

    Govt is bullying LL to leave the sector so it is they that will be causing a reduction in private rental stock.

    Like many LL we are if we wish perfectly able to achieve the same if not more returns by reducing our assets.
    So fewer properties but better income.

    LL will be victims of this Govt bullying but it is tenants that will be the far bigger victims of such bullying.

    The only issue is very few dopey tenants will realise or appreciate that Govt efforts to eradicate LL directly impact on them resulting in them struggling to source appropriate rental accommodation.

    Personally I care nothing for the plight of tenants.
    It is not my fault that Govt is attempting to put me out of business.
    But one thing I will be sure of and that is my income will not suffer.
    It will just come to me by different strategies.
    There is more to the PRS than being an AST LL.


    As luck would have it all my residential tenants are so far paying in full, however this has all been a warning shot, no more risky tenants, all will be checked out very very carefully, better an empty property than one with a feckless tenant in it.


    Either you're all lying about receiving full rents or you're all only happy when you're complaining about something or other ?

    All the polls/stats say that rent defaults are only up from the usual 2% to 3% because of COVID ?


    Even by your figures 97% of us aren't lying in claiming full rents are still being received. That doesn't make the current unfairness acceptable.


    Robert, so you admit that you're not happy unless you're complaining about something ?


    Pointing out unfairness and inequities is not the sole right of those who suffer them. Others should support them whenever such things are identified.

    That applies equally to landlords being taxed on revenue instead of profit, being forced to continue to provide services to non-payers etc. ( unlike any other business) and to deserving Universal Credit claimants who do not have enough to live on due to the system being overwhelmed by the feckless and work-shy.

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    @Paul Barrett - what alternative income stream were you considering?

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    • 26 September 2020 17:33 PM

    Short term letting

    These particular strategies are NOT subject to the ridiculous and dysfunctional eviction process.

    They can be far more profitable than the AST business model which makes little sense now that Govt prevents LL from evicting in a reasonable time.

    These other strategies maybe a little more involved than the AST model but as they aren't subject to the stupid eviction process then ultimately are potentially more profitable.

    Personally I intend to sell up and try and buy a large home for me to live in.
    I will then take on lodgers.
    At least 3 if I can afford a 4 bed property.
    So my response is to be a LL but not a normal LL.
    A live-in LL for me is the only viable way of being able to achieve rental income.
    I cannot expose myself to the dysfunctional eviction process.
    Lodgers neatly avoid that prospect.

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    • 26 September 2020 19:16 PM

    @seb forbes

    Well you are sort of right and sort of wrong.
    I'm not complaining I'm managing.

    So currently I'm waiting for the return of three occupants.
    I have a temporary occupant.
    So 2 occupants rent I'm not receiving.
    I could have replaced the two that had to go but preferred to retain them.
    So a total loss of about £1650
    Then changed the occupant disposition.
    I will have new occupants for a currently vacant property apart from me of course.
    I have new occupants commencing in Oct.

    I will indeed have a vacant room which I need to source occupants for.
    But at least I am receiving most of the contractual rents and should be receiving all at end of October.

    So far better off than some LL who face two years of no rent before they are able to evict their feckless rent defaulting tenants.

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    • 26 September 2020 19:32 PM


    Indeed choosing less risky tenants is an ideal.
    Unfortunately risky tenants are the majority..
    LL have little choice than to take on these risky tenants.

    In 11 years I was only ever able to obtain RGI on one occupant.
    Never have I been able to source guarantors.

    It is just a fact that most tenants are risky propositions.

    My properties would have bern unviable had I relied on less risky occupants.

    This is why due to the eviction problems etc I'm getting out of the normal PRS.
    I'm simply no longer prepared to risk my finances on flakey tenants who haven't a bean to their name and live a hand to mouth existence whilst living it up with no thought or care as to what happens if their income suddenly stops.

    They can operate like as due to the dysfunctional eviction process there is no immediate moral hazard.

    They know they can ponce off LL for months on end...............well not this LL who intends to be an ex-LL!!!

  • George Dawes

    I had to re possess one flat and my kin is now living in it as this corona twaddle means it's far too risky to let , fortunately I've got a couple of commercial lets that seem to have a lot less red tape to them ( for now ) no doubt the govt and council are thinking up ways to milk me dry on that front too

    Either way being a LL these days is a thankless task

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    • 27 September 2020 03:15 AM

    I don't think any of us LL wants or needs to be thanked for the service we provide.

    All we ask is for fair trading regulations.

    The repossession process conspires against LL to be able to trade.

    It simply cannot be right that rent defaulting tenants are allowed to consume an accommodation service without paying for it.

    Unfortunately Govt intends to make LL provide their services for free thereby saving Govt fortunes.


    Just like going to a restaurant consuming the food then not wishing to pay. Its the same thing. It could be argued that it is their human right (its not) to be able to consume food without paying for it. This is the LL point of view


    Jahan, your analogy is tenuous at best - are you comparing yourself to a Michelin * chef ? If the restaurant were to give you raw meat and veg, and ask you to cook it yourself, then you might have a point.

    LLs have done nothing more than provide collateral for an investment. If you're not happy with the risk or return, then sell it ?



    We don't just provide bricks and mortar for the tenants to build the properties. We provide fully functioning homes, often fully furnished.

    Your analogy is down to your usual standard!

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    Rent arrears not a hope we can whistle for that. I have a Tenant who owes me 4 months rent on a house (£6k) very reasonable rent. I understand he had a problem doing business on his ebay Account as he said pay pal had put a 2 months hold on his Account until September, for what ever reason, he said it was £18k and when he got it I would definitely get the rent. I understand he got his money but I didn't, now he has started to pay the normal rent again so the Arrears is forgotten about. Another house owes me £7k arrears, I believe they can't do it anyhow but at least pay some money every month, they all drink & smoke though ?, Governments interference didn't help, to their credit they keep the place nice I'II give them that. Seb' thinks we only put collateral into the Business if only, we are not all Asian if I am allowed to say, it far more than that we put our heart & soul into it and he assumes we are telling lies, not. About his Positive and always an negative he forgets we are not insulated don't forget the earth.


    Thank you Michael - I appreciate your measured response

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    • 27 September 2020 17:48 PM

    @seb forbes

    You will find that the majority of start up businesses require collateral.

    Try going to a bank and getting a lian with no collateral.

    You are veering very close to making the ridiculous left wing statement that all property is theft.

    Hopefully you won't go there as that would truly indicate that you were an idiot which I don't consider you to be.

    The analogy of food etc is exactly correct.
    Food is provided as a service in its raw state or otherwise just like accommodation is.

    It matters not how the service is provisioned.

    If it is a service that people want then they will pay a market price for it.

    For those who can't afford market prices................TOUGH!!

    Nobody has the right to ponce off the private capital of anyone LL included.

    Unfortunately Govt is indeed facilitating tenants to ponce off LL capital.

    Chiefly by preventing LL from removing rent defaulting tenants to then hopefully source some new rent paying ones.

    It is IRRELEVANT how LL came to be in the position they are to have an offer of rental accommodation.

    All LL are requiring is to be paid what they wish to charge for the service they provide.
    This Govt intends and is succeeding in preventing LL from operating a normally functioning business.

    The continual assault on LL will end badly as LL will get out of the game.
    They won't suffer but their tenants surely will.


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