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Rent arrears: Last minute U-turn ‘another huge blow for those landlords struggling’

At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, a ban on evictions was introduced in England and Wales.

That has now been extended until 20 September, but will that deadline be pushed back even further? Just how does the eviction process now work and how are the rules changing?

HD Assist, together with Landlord Action, will be hosting a special ‘Rent Arrears and Eviction’ webinar tomorrow. 


The online session, which will take place from 10am-11am, is designed to help landlords, letting agents and property managers navigate the ever-changing rules on evictions.

The webinar will be presented by founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, with guests Tim Frome, legal director for Landlord Action, along with Mike Morgan, legal division manager and head of HD Assist, as well as John Stewart, director of policy and research at National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

As experts in landlord and tenant law, the team will update and advise listeners, guiding them from an initial problem, such as how to communicate with a tenant that has stopped paying rent, right through to the latest on debt recovery.

The team will provide the most up to date information on the courts, following the further extension to the ban on evictions, and what the possession procedure will now entail.

Topics covered will include:

Non-payment of rent - How to communicate

Mediation avoiding the courts

Serving Notices - The Update

Issuing Possession Claims

Courts Reopening post COVID Lockdown - Reactivation notices

New processes put in place

Latest on Debt Recovery Rules

Shamplina said: “The last minute U-turn regarding the re-opening of the courts was another huge blow for those landlords struggling with mounting rent arrears and troublesome tenants. Having just issued the reaction notices in August, we have been inundated with queries from landlords over what the changes mean for their case. We hope the webinar will help to cover as many unanswered questions as possible and give landlords some reassurance that the industry is doing it all it can to support them raise awareness of the hardship many landlords are now facing.”

Stewart of the NRLA added: “The extension of the stay is unwelcome and un-needed, whilst the new notice periods risk making the possession process as complicated as a game of Go Johnny Go Go Go Go!”

Landlords, letting agents and property managers are being asked to sign up in advance to the HF Assist/Landlord Action webinar. To register, click here

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    No chance of tenants with any history of rent problems ever being able to rent decent accommodation again. Is that really what the loony lefties want - or don't they care?

    • 08 September 2020 09:31 AM

    Unfortunately are many dopey LL out there.

    This means that these feckless tenants WILL be able to source other rental accommodation.

    It is only because of dopey LL that feckless tenants are able to leave a trail of destruction behind them as they move from one dopey LL to another.

    Referencing remains a real problem to carry out effectively.

    Many LL simply DON'T bother to do it effectively

    • 08 September 2020 11:07 AM


    'I INSIST on a 3 month rental deposit. Minimum, and more if I don't trust them'
    You cant do that David (I used to) as it is now illegal for deposit to be more than 5 weeks in England

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    Is this new breaking news ?
    Or is this something from a few days ago now ?

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    I can save you an hour of your life along with getting pitched at afterwards for additional services.
    1)Tell a Rent shirking non compliant tenant that they are def going. Its just a case of when. Relatives can pitch in to keep them in a rented property or offer them the spare room - YES make these suggestions its completely reasonable.
    2) If they leave immediately then write off debt as long as property is clean & clear & there will be no CCJ
    3) If they dont leave then immediate serving of papers with video proof
    4) Let the neighbours know they are thieves & to lock their doors and hide their mowers & kids toys as they are not to be trusted. Update the neighbours regularly. They will tell the rent shirker what you are doing at first opportunity
    4) Go for CCJ & let the tenant know this
    5) Tell tenant that you will be telling every letting agent & landlord in the county. They will never be offered a decent property ever again
    6) Enforce CCJ with interest before it lapses
    7) Put a To Let board up

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    • 08 September 2020 11:28 AM

    • 08 September 2020 11:29 AM

    Kristjan Byfield

    David I would be very careful- three of your stated conditions above are actually illegal- the deposit amount (rendering any notice invalid and opening you up to huge fines) and two others are discriminatory.


    Well done David nicely breaking the law good luck if any tenant complains about you. If i was you i would remove your comments from this page before someone reports you and you are investigated.

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    • 08 September 2020 13:19 PM

    A LL is perfectly entitled to refuse tenant types who continually engage in noxious cooking.
    Such noxious cooking damages the internal fabric of a property just like smoking does which is why most LL state No Smoking inside

    If certain ethnicities engage in continual noxious cooking that is just TOUGH.
    They will be declined by many LL and justifiably so.

    As for DSS tenants LL are entitled to take a business view on those reliant on HB and decline them.
    Many LL are actually prevented by their mortgage conditions from taking on DSS.
    I am unable to even consider DSS tenants because East Herts District Council require me to give a DSS tenant prospect a valid AST BEFORE they are assessed for any HB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

    Yeah like I'm gonna do that!!!

    The stupid court case does not create any precedent.
    LL are still entitled to decline DSS tenants
    Being in receipt of HB as yet is NOT a protected characteristic.
    It will take a Supreme Court judgement to enshrine that situation in law.
    So LL will just consider DSS tenants and then decline them.
    Giving false hope to many.
    That is just cruel.


    We cannot take a 3 months rent deposit, however what we can do is take a 5 week deposit and 3 months rent up front so long as that is used as rent, we can also insist that rent is paid 3 monthly in advance. Further more we decide who is going to live in our properties, that decision is ours and ours alone .

     G romit

    Just do not give a reason for declining a prospective tenant.

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    • T L
    • 08 September 2020 17:41 PM

    @ David Chrisp - what’s your issue with single mothers? What about single fathers? If anything they are more likely to try and pay their rent to keep a roof over their heads and their child’s. I’ve not had a single parent interested in my property but I wouldn’t discriminate just because they were single parents.


    Experience of single mums over the past 30 yrs means I don't rent to them now, leave them to the local council, their problem not mine.

    • 08 September 2020 18:13 PM

    What tends to happen though is magically a boyfriend turns up and 'visits ' quite a lot usually 7 days a week!!!
    Usually has no accommodation of their own and definitely is working in some capacity.
    DWP isn't informed.
    Single mothers are usually working the system.

    Then there is the damage that always seems to occur with single mother's kids who always seem to have a propensity for scribbling over walls!

    Wear and tear tends to be excessive with these tenant types.
    Most single mothers are reliant on welfare and consequently are unsuitable for many LL who don't wish to have anything to do with UC at least at the outset of a tenancy.

    Unfortunately for many LL with the CV19 issues they will find that they do indeed now have a single mother who will need to claim UC usually through no fault of her own.
    Many tenants will be attempting to use the welfare system for the first time and as such it will be a very fraught time for LL who wanted nothing at all to do with it.

    They will have little choice now.


    When you put it like that Paul maybe we should advertise that our properties are not up to the requirements of the typical DSS tenant. They are just not designed for 24/7 constant battering. They need a better level of property that I can provide.
    I hear the local council can provide these properties

    • 08 September 2020 19:02 PM


    @ T L who ever you might be, I think you question has been answered , don't you ?

    • 08 September 2020 19:13 PM

    • 08 September 2020 19:15 PM

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    • 08 September 2020 18:41 PM

    Yes my understanding is that the HB for Social housing is less than LHA rates.
    Makes sense having social housing then so that less HB expenditure is required.

    Govt could save fortunes in HB if it bought houses on the open market for Social Housing.
    I'm sure they'd have plenty of LL only too willing to sell to local councils etc.

    Maybe at say a 10% discount providing any CGT is discounted by 10%

    A Govt buy up of private housing for Social housing stock would be a very popular policy.
    What's a few billion more in the overall scheme of things! ?

    At least Govt would have bought back the 'family silver' which can be used again and again over the next 100 years at least.

    It would also have the welcome effect as far as Govt would be concerned of getting rid of hundreds of thousands of LL who are only too keen to get out of the PRS.

     G romit

    "A Govt buy up of private housing for Social housing stock would be a very popular policy."

    Especially buying up ex Council houses. ;-)

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    • 08 September 2020 19:00 PM

    If I find out they have "partners" that are not on the contract, then they have 2 choices..
    They pay more rent, or they get evicted.

    Simple. And there are ways....Believe me.

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    • 08 September 2020 19:04 PM

    @Kristjan Byfield

    I am the final arbiter of who lives in my properties.

    If they do not like it. Then they and I will walk.

    How simple is that.

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    • T L
    • 08 September 2020 19:22 PM

    Appreciate all your feedback however I would still base my decision on satisfactory credit and references checks from employers and previous LLs rather than blanket discrimination.


    They are your properties your decision.

    • 08 September 2020 22:00 PM

    You have a weird way of doing business.
    Seriously do you pay to reference DSS applicants!!?

    Aren't you aware of how dysfunctional the UC system is!?

    It is perfectly acceptable to take a business decision not to let to certain tenant types if difficulty is there.

    Just being able to afford the rent is but one part of the business assessment for deciding on a tenant.

    The facts are that even Social Housing providers exclude DSS tenants by using the phrase

    No letting to those with


    LETWA if you will!

    They use this rather than

    No DSS.

    I'm glad you DON'T manage my properties it would cost me hundreds in referencing costs!

    So far I have yet to meet anyone on welfare who can afford my rent

  •  G romit

    Acceptance criteria:
    1. Income greater than 5 times rent
    2. Employer reference
    3. Savings greater than 3 month's rent
    4. Homeowner guarantor

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    I wonder if the government can borrow us a loan to pay our arrears as it was done in Wales it a low interest.
    Is going to be very different to pay rent because some people just went back to and other working for an agency which is not regular job.

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    • 09 September 2020 11:59 AM


    You make a very good point about property resilience.

    What do you consider the things that a LL could do to make a property DSS proof!?
    I would consider washable walls etc and woodwork.
    What would be the additional costs to make a property DSS proof.
    I DON'T know what it is but all DSS properties I have entered always seem to have the same sort of nasty smell.

    Never experienced it in OO properties!


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