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Urgent action needed to address mounting tenant debt

A lot more needs to be done to financially support landlords and renters during the existing Covid-19 pandemic, according to Housing Hand. 

UK rent guarantor service is concerned that the challenges in the private rented sector are only going to intensify as the coronavirus crisis continues to put a strain on the economy.

The company wants to see the government step in and solve the issue of increasing tenant debt, and is proposing a simple rent debt loan solution that would enable landlords to avoid evicting non-paying tenants.


Terry Mason, group operations director, Housing Hand said: “The government cannot use private accommodation providers to bail out the rent arrears problem created by COVID-19.

“Action needs to be taken now, before the second wave builds, to assure both tenants and landlords that there is another option open to them aside from eviction, which in most cases both parties are keen to avoid.”

Given that the private rental sector is vital to the UK’s housing makeup, Jeremy Robinson, group managing director, Housing Hand, agrees that it is important that if tenants genuinely cannot pay their rent, the government must step in and support them. 

He commented: “Private accommodation providers cannot be expected to provide homes without being paid. In many instances, rent covers the landlord’s mortgage and maintenance costs, meaning that non-payment puts both the tenant and the landlord at risk. 

“We need a solution in place before the second wave really hits and delivers a huge economic as well as health impact.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • George Dawes

    Second wave of what ?

    0.2% mortality rate and only affects 80+ with underlying health problems

    Google Whitty , Vallance and Hancock and their ties/connections to big pharma - it's all a big scam

    Algarve  Investor

    Alternatively, almost 50,000 dead (and that's at the lower end of the estimates) in the space of six months, and many more suffering long-term health issues.

    I agree that the response needs to be balanced and that most people won't be badly affected by the disease, but it shouldn't be underestimated. It's a very dangerous virus still which spreads like wildfire, and killed many more people than a normal flu season.

    It should be taken seriously, as it wasn't before, and we shouldn't be complacent. That said, the response to a second wave has been shocking. Still no functional test and trace system, an app that has only just come in and doesn't seem to work that well, sending students back and not expecting cases to spike, the arbitrary 10pm curfew which seems to be based on little, a confused quarantine system, draconian new laws introduced without MPs or the police on side.

    There has to be a balance, between the conspiracy theorists who think it's all a hoax to infect us with 5G and the rabid anti-lockdowners, and those calling for blanket lockdowns which don't solve the issue at hand and are only ever a short-term fix.


    Couldn't agree more with than you George . Apparently it's mortality rate is on par with the flu again affecting the vulnerable. Seems like world leaders just want to create huge debt I'm starting to believe about the conspiracy theories of New World Orders !!


    Alternatively, subtract the 8,000 that you added, only 32,000 dead and that could be at the higher end, if we don't make another re-adjustment for falsified figures ?

    We have many 1000s more dying of cancer, diabetes and mental health issues, a dysfunctional society, and a seriously failing economy that leaves little hope for future generations... and I'm not claiming any conspiracy because facts don't care about your feelings.

    Now who is being selfish ?

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Whatever the thoughts about the virus, my heart goes out to the 000's who've lost loved ones ( That's no scam ! )
    Anyway, the Lockdown and interference in the court eviction process is causing a REAL problem for landlords, so trivialising the virus isn't helpful when you can't evict a Tenant.


    @Algarve Investor, your 50,000 sounds a lot, but as a percentage of the population of GB which I believe is around 65 million it's really very few.
    @ Seb, well who would believe, this is a rare occasion I agree with you 100%

  • icon
    • 29 September 2020 04:56 AM

    Housing Hand is completely INCORRECT.
    Govt fully expects the PRS to subsidise feckless tenant lifestyles.

    It knows it will be years before most evictions are carried out.

    It simply DOESN'T care if this bankrupts LL.
    It is Govt policy to get rid of LL.
    Therefore Govt will ponce of LL facilities for as long as they can force LL to do so.
    They know that LL will do their best to use whatever resources they can to keep their properties going despite not receiving any rent for years.

    If eventually a LL gives up then for Govt that is success.............one more LL got rid off.

    Helping Hand is being incredibly naive if it believes the UK Govt will do anything to assist English LL to receive rent.

    Of course Helping Hand is totally correct in their assertion that tenants should receive Govt loans to pay their rent......................will NEVER happen!!

    The longer Govt can keep tenants poncing off LL the more money Govt saves in TA costs.

    Govt knows it WON'T suffer electorally if it keeps on hitting LL.

    English LL in particular must be aware that they will receive NO assistance from the UK Govt and plan accordingly.
    For many it means selling up as AST tenants are no longer worthwhile.

    But that is not so easy to achieve if the tenant refuses to vacate.

    Many LL are in a death spiral as when they run out of resources to subsidise the feckless rent defaulting tenants they will be truly stuffed.

    Many LL can only remain to be impoverished by their feckless tenants.
    Govt WON'T even make it possible to sell up.
    They will make sure the feckless tenants are able to ponce of the LL until eventually the LL achieves repossession.

    Govt has always facilitated tenants poncing off LL to the tune of about £9 billion every year courtesy of the dysfunctional repossession and Civil Recovery processes.

    Except now tenants will be poncing off LL for even longer.

    AST letting has really had its day especially for leveraged LL.

    If a LL can't easily recover a rental property from a feckless rent defaulting tenant then there really is no point remaining an AST LL.
    We have effectively returned to the sitting tenant days

  • George Dawes

    Paul is 100% correct - as usual

    • 29 September 2020 21:24 PM

    Yeah but isn't it a travesty for LL to be treated this way.
    I truly do despair of this illogical assault on private LL.

    All most LL do is provide a good service.
    For doing so we are deemed to be the spawn of the devil and therefore justifiably crucified.

    I do my best to provide an excellent service and yet I find myself being hounded out of business.
    I truly don't get it!

    Perhaps because I don't get it I deserve to be eradicated!?

    Feel so sad the way good LL are pilloried by society and worst still by politicians.........the ultimate insult!!!

  • icon

    I second that 100% driving us out by any & every means Rogues.
    I have property that I can't let because of all the scams. The big one that's never mentioned on this Platform is Corporate Lets which are rampant in recent years and now more so than ever. They are Ltd just set up for this scam to operate R2R or is another way of sub-letting, they take LL property let it out in rooms or even shared rooms very handy for Council too, to off load some single sharers. What's all the Regulations about for us to comply with this that & the other including Right to rent when those people get hold of the property no one knows who is in there but LL is supposed to be responsible, thousands or those Ltd's hijacked our Business living off our backs also getting LL's Property off Letting Agents to facilitate the scam Authorities are happy as long as they are destroying us.
    Sigma Capital & EQT £1b venture to build 3'000 Rental Properties in L'don 361 starting now many in Ealing where there is already a glut, just drive us out by any means. Then to make matters worse we have a Housing Minister Christopher Pincher backing the Scheme with £50m of tax payers money as if they need it, just rubbing butter on the fat pigs bum. Please tell when we got anything from the Minister only penalties and fines, is there such a word as Discrimination ?.

  • David Lester

    County Court Judgements
    Having being a regular reader of this forum for couple of years and recently reading much about Section 21 evictions etc, there is a question I would like to ask, however hope that I am not “shot down in Flames”.
    My question is; if the Government is preventing the issuing of Section 21’s for non-payment of rent, rent arrears, would taking the Tenant to County Court with the objective of obtaining a CCJ, be a method of being first for any future payments?
    Rationale for this question is that a CCJ last for 6 years, thereby the Tenants: -
    • Will have no Credit Rating and will not be able to get Credit, Loans etc.
    • With a CCJ any future LL will be able to check their creditworthiness.
    • It will focus the Tenants to pay or set-up a payment plan.
    • Shelter: Generation Rent and other such bodies cannot object, the contract is to pay, otherwise it must be theft.
    • A CCJ is not an eviction!
    • Could prevent Tenants “doing a runner” i.e. leaving the property and going to another, as the new LL will know that they are a bad risk.
    • To date, the Government has not interfered with this type of action.
    • It will demonstrate to the Tenants that they have a responsibility to pay their rent.
    • If enough CCJ’s were issued all Stakeholders will have to take notice of the LL’s position.
    • It is not an expensive action to draw attention to the situation.

    • 29 September 2020 09:34 AM

    Totally correct in everything you state.

    Rarely carried out as most LL desperately hope the tenant will pay their arrears.

    I agree a forlorn hope and I wish I had done as you suggest.


    Yes, CCJs are a good alternative in the current situation.

    My tenants stopped paying rent just before the first lockdown. I started going through the process of issuing a CCJ during lockdown using the online website. To really make the CCJ effective, I did the first CCJ against one of the tenants then the next month when they failed to pay again, a CCJ against the other tenant. This way both are prevented from getting credit etc. Although its taken longer than it should due to lockdown, my CCJ were approved by the courts in June/July, then after giving the tenants a month to pay the CCJ (which they didn't) I filed online for the bailiffs to go in and seize goods. This is now with my local bailiffs and I've been told that if there are no more national lockdowns preventing home visits, the bailiffs should be going round by the middle of October.

    I know this is still a slow process but at least I've eventually started to see some 'justice'. Hopefully it will give the tenants a wakeup call and me some money. If this is successful, I can raise more CCJs against them for the other months rent they have not paid. This way their credit is ruined for many years.

    Also, just to let you know the courts have given me a date of beginning of Nov for my eviction hearing. Fingers crossed we don't go into another lockdown before then.


    Can't fault anything that you say David... my only concerns are:

    1) once the first CCJ has been issued... the tenant will have no option but to wait for the court to issue forced eviction.
    2) the debt keeps on growing for as long as it takes the court to issue forced eviction.
    3) do you want some/slow money or no money/retribution ?


    Unless your tenant has moved abroad like mine has. I have no idea where and the people currently living in the property aren't telling.


    Well, if ever there was a single negative to leaving the EU (and becoming a 3rd country), this is definitely it !

    Truth is... we only voted Brexit to punish LLs ?


    Totally agree David, and in the past I have done just this, a CCJ is for money owed and as such a court has to allow it, normally around £60 money claim online dead easy to do, no need for a solicitor , often people that don't pay can pay at a later date, then they suck their cheeks in when the bailiff comes knocking 2 - 3 years down the road, revenge is sweet.

  • icon

    @Jon Jones
    You now have a rent defaulting tenant's and a CCJ's against them both. How will they get another property now as their credit has now gone? Might have been easier for the one CCJ and at least they would have had a way out with one of them able to get credit. May be the threat of a second CCJ and a note of the consequences may have got rid of them earlier - who knows. But with zero credit they will not rush away from your 'free' home provision that's a certainty. They will struggle to find a new idiot landlord that's for certain.
    Good luck with the eviction but maybe you could consider the High Court where the bailiff just arrives and gets them out that day. Costly for you but very painful for the defaulting tenant as they have no choice but to go. The removal of said defaulters would guarantee a big smile on your face as they march off into the sunset.



    I think he's right. You were totally right to get the ccj against the first tenant to show you weren't bluffing but it might have been better to warn them to play ball and point out the benefits of avoiding a ccj for the second tenant by co-operating with you. The problem with many tenants in such a position is that they close their eyes to reality and wouldn't act rationally so making the second ccj inevitable. There are no easy answers, which is exactly how the anti-landlord groups ( including government) wants it, so no change is likely soon and not until the housing shortage gets much worse but even then it would mean them understanding cause and effect.


    @ Retired Agent, High Court bailiff do now have to give 14 days notice , but still much quicker than court bailiffs and well worth the extra money.

  • icon
    • 29 September 2020 11:55 AM

    @jacob goldberg

    Hopefully you had your former tenants sign a tenancy surrender letter.
    If not the tenancy is still running.

    Get it done under the guise that it ends their C Tax liability....................not that they will be paying it!

  • icon

    @ paul . Thankyou I am going to a solicitors tomorrow just for some clarification

    • 29 September 2020 12:15 PM

    No need.
    I'll clarify for you.
    Save yourself some money.
    The ONLY two ways of officially terminating a tenancy is an accepted Surrender document or an enforced Warrant of Possession.
    That is it.

    No such thing as Abandoned property.

    But despite that I Totally admire your chutzpah in getting rid of your wronguns.

    Just need to dot those i's etc!!

    Pray they don't go to the CAB or Shelter.
    You could easily find they have reoccupied!



    As I have said before, one doesn't need to have suffered personally to complain about or highlight iniquities.

    I am disgusted by the support given to the feckless, reckless and hopeless at the expense of the decent, prudent and responsible.

    I am amazed anyone would think otherwise - assuming they have the appropriate apparatus (to think at all).



    The guy who first said. "bah humbug" ended up repenting his actions and words! We can but hope!


    @ Robert , well nail on head there, I wouldn't want a Rolls Royce, and have never owned one, I was in the motor trade for 30 yrs, had and enjoyed the flash (secondhand) cars when I was younger, been there, got the tee shirt, cars do a job these days for me, reliability comes first now followed with sensible servicing costs, run them into the ground before going to the car auction to buy a replacement , max investment, £10k



    You mean you don't understand it twice ? If you done gone to school like what I was did, you would realise that failing to understand it the once time was enuf ?!?

    Bye bye Robert... because Robert deleted the above post - having difficulty understanding how message boards work ?



    I haven't a clue what you're on about but during my long and successful period of education I was taught to investigate anything important that I didn't understand until I could make sense of it. However I was also taught not to waste time on trivialities not meriting further investigation so please don't take the trouble of enlightening me on what your post is supposed to mean.


    What did you want to say RRRRRRoberrrrrrrrrt ?

  • Mark Wilson

    One easy solution-lower the rent.


    bah, humbug !!!

    • 29 September 2020 13:37 PM

    NEVER ever absolutely no way.
    And for sure there will always be people prepared to pay for quality.

    Which is exactly what I supply.

    • 29 September 2020 13:55 PM

    Yep in some cases what you suggest is pragmatic.

    Bird in the hand and all that.
    I've had to do as you suggest.

    Just makes the properties even less viable with no resources to pay S24 taxes.
    Inevitably I will be leaving the AST PRS.

    Govt has made my properties unviable.

    The only beauty of the situation is that I want to go.
    As soon as I can I want rid of my properties and occupants.

    I simply no longer need the hassle.
    The properties have done what they obtained for.............debt repayment.
    Now no longer needed as all achieved.
    Could do without all the hassle quite frankly!


    An even easier solution is "don't stay in a property you can't afford". Such rent dodgers are being totally selfish as they are not only defrauding their landlord, they are preventing more deserving tenants from renting this home and since market rents include a premium to cover the risk of such defaults, they are also defrauding other decent rent paying tenants due to their selfishness, fecklessness, indolence and/or intransigence in not moving out promptly to make the property available for others.


    Robert, your words - "since market rents include a premium to cover the risk of such defaults,"... then surely you don't have anything to complain about because as a mature business person, your premium matches your risk ?



    Yet again my response has ended up in the wrong reply (above).

    Looks like you might be getting to me - but don't count on it!


    Why Mark, I cannot afford a new Rolls Royce , perhaps they should lower their prices ??



    You probably could afford to buy a Rolls Royce but the reason you can is because you won't.

    If the price of everything was reduced to the level that everyone could afford it, what would be the point of anyone putting in any effort? That is why Communism failed.

    Mark Wilson

    You don't need to stand back very far to see where this goes.



    I haven't a clue what point you're making - but then, that isn't that unusual and I suspect I am not alone. You're not related to Jeremy Corbyn by any chance?


    Am I still getting to you Robert ?

    Mark Wilson

    I will help you out. Want to reduce levels of unpaid rent? Lower the rent and problem solved or reduced. Like a company reducing its dividend. Cut you cloth accordingly. It’s happening already!


    Totally agree with cutting cloth - which is why tenants unable to afford their rent - a legal obligation - should immediately vacate properties no longer being paid for. In my experience every landlord would be sympathetic enough not to pursue them for any unpaid unexpired period of lease or even notice period.

    Companies cutting dividends usually suffer drops in share price as investors exercise their right to pursue other potentially more profitable investments.

    By accepting landlords' generous offers to leave without having to settle future obligations, tenants can reciprocate this generosity by allowing landlords to pursue more profitable tenants. Pretty similar outcome to that available to stock market investors - can't see why anyone with any common sense would object to landlords being able to do this, or support tenants being able to deprive landlords of such a basic right!


    @Robert... legal obligations have legal remedies ?

    Surely, during your long and successful period of education you were taught to investigate anything important that you didn't understand until you could make sense of it.???



    If you had been paying attention, or understood what other posters were saying (I know that can be difficult sometimes with some posters) you would have learned that many legal remedies are currently not available - which is why many landlords are so infuriated. In the long term, hopefully, most obligations will be met and the defaulters will regret not taking advantage of any offers to move out early and limit such obligations.

    In case you have forgotten already, I fortunately am not experiencing any issues with rent defaulters but that doesn't disqualify me from expressing my concern for fellow landlords and showing my disgust for those tenants unwilling to minimise any potential loss to their landlords by leaving promptly as soon as they can no longer afford to pay their rents or other obligations.


    "Want to reduce levels of unpaid rent? Lower the rent and problem solved or reduced"

    This guy allegedly manages properties OMG. A non paying tenant is a non paying tenant. They have to go so that a deserving tenant that needs a roof can take over and the machine moves again. Theres a market rent & that is what is paid - end of. Do not use this guy for your properties everyone as you will go bankrupt unless he goes pop first

  • icon

    Landlords are not helping their own situation by giving their property to so called Corporate Companies Lets, their is no such thing its a multi million pound scam. This is destroying us we can't find Tenants because they have them all gone by letting rooms in LL's property individually. They are not Proper Corporate companies as would have been the case in years gone by, when a company needed accommodation for their Staff. Those people just set up Ltd for the purpose no finance required isn't it wonderful for them, no loan or Mortgage required and LL's facilitate them harming our Business. Last year I had a guy come to me with this scam and he told me he had 46 properties this way, (I believe he was making half a Million £'s pa out of LL's and didn't need to own anything). Time to wake up I had 14 calls in a week from those kind people all purporting to be Corporate Lets, clearly they are not anyone can do this & they do probably from the Bedroom. LL's take note don't give them your property.

    • 29 September 2020 22:53 PM

    There are unfortunately sufficient dopey LL out there that don't realise they are being involved in criminal enterprises.

    It is my contention that before anyone is allowed to become a LL they should undergo 30 hours of CPD training.

    Just that would deter MILLIONS from ever bothering to be LL.

    That would be a right result.
    Fewer LL; smaller PRS,millions more homeless, rents higher, result!

    Matthew Fine

    Michael it's been going on for years, the BBC even did a report on one of these companies (mecca international) and chased the guy down the edgware road with their cameras. A recent one was PML Lettings who went under a month ago having over 100 flats sub-let out room by room. They stole the tenants deposits and left the country owing millions in unpaid rent. You need to do more due diligence, look at the ltd company, if they have a web site find out when it was made and who owns the domain, it tells you a lot about who is behind the company. Eventually you get a feel for these scum bags. They usually sail through cheep referencing that is why you as a landlord need to also check the facts.

  • icon
    • 29 September 2020 23:08 PM

    Do you realise the premium that LL would need to build into their business model to cover for feckless tenants.
    Try about £15000 per property. per WRONGUN tenant..
    That would make most LL unviable.

    The ONLY premium worthwhile is for RGI. and very few tenants qualify for that.

    So LL are left with taking enormous risks or stop being a LL!!

    Very lucky for many tenants that LL are prepared to gamble on tenants.
    Without LL tenants of all sorts would be stuffed!!


    Well, you and Robert can argue that amongst yourselves ?

    Unless, as Robert says, he wants to charge the full premium to a client that represents zero risk - wouldn't all of us like to do that, if we were feckless too ?



    As well as not understanding how business in general works, you clearly don't understand how insurance claims and premiums work. I agree with Paul (usually do) about the £15k potential cost of a rogue tenant, but this cost would be recovered over a long period and not from a single tenant in one payment.

    I also do agree with you that it is unfair on the good tenants, but given market forces and tenant demands for my properties, I believe it is a fairer method all round than my bearing the cost, selling up and making around 50 joint tenants homeless.

    Of course the fairest thing would be for the rent dodgers to pay up and the next fairest thing would be for them to leave quickly and quietly but these rogues are not in the business of acting fairly and many of their supporters are too stupid to recognise how unfairly they are behaving.


    Robert, please don't pretend that you care about your tenants, or even the UK housing problem.

    You have 1 concern, and 1 concern only... we know it, so you only need to stop pretending to yourself.


    Please don't claim to read my mind. I care deeply about my tenants but I expect them to care enough about me to meet their obligations to ne, as I meet mine to them.

    Si far, I have only been let down badly once - by a DSS claimant!


    Robert, do you seriously want me to believe that you attribute 'obligations' with 'care' ?.. where's my tissue, I feel a river coming...

    And, if after everything you have said, you were let down once, then you failed - shame on you !.. only joking. ;-)



    I don't really care what you believe, or think or say. However I do care what many other posters on this platform believe, think or say - because I respect their opinions and suggestions.

    I would only care about what you say on here if I thought those whom I do respect would be influenced by your comments but since I really don't think that will happen your comments are no more than a source of amusement to me and I suspect to many others.

    Any feelings of anger, outrage or astonishment I may have experienced with your earlier posts have been significantly diluted by the sheer volume of them, illustrating the old proverb of the emptiest vessel making the most noise.

  • icon
    • 29 September 2020 23:49 PM

    @seb forbes

    i believe you have put your finger on the nub of the issue; the premium required to offset risk is now far too high so as to render being a LL not worth the risk.
    All it takes is one wrongun tenant to destroy a LL business.

    I risk I am no longer prepared to take.

    With flakey tenants being a LL is now very much a gamble.

    Many LL swerve the wrongun tenant bullet but many don't.

    It is they that suffer from feckless tenants.
    Is that fair?

    It is only antiquated law that keeps feckless tenants in the style they are accustomed to courtesy of the LL.

    Look at the new country.
    Oz they know about fainess there.
    2 weeks rent default and Police remove you.
    Seems fair to me!!

    Do you consider it fair-

  • icon
    • 01 October 2020 20:51 PM

    @seb forbes

    I note you refuse to accept that feckless tenants do in fact game the pathetically useless and dysfunctional UK eviction process to outstay their welcome.

    It is clear that you consider that all LL should suffer from this antiquated process.

    Of course all LL should be aware of this dysfunctional process.

    You support this as it is the current law.

    I wonder if the law was changed to the Oz eviction process that you would support that because it was the LAW!!!??

    Somehow I doubt it!!

  • icon
    • 01 October 2020 20:55 PM


    At least mad Mark gives us LL a heads up never to use him in our business.

    If I hadn't read his posts 99% of which are bonkers I might have unfortunately ended up using him.

    Fortunately for me he has carried out my DD for me such that I will never use him in any capacity whatsoever!!

    Thanks Mark you have saved me a lot of time!!


    Come on Paul, do you seriously allow agents to interfere in your no-nonsense business plan ?

  • icon
    • 01 October 2020 21:11 PM

    @seb forbes

    My apologies if I have given the impression that I allow LA to have ANYTHING to do with my business.

    Wild horses and all that!!

    I'm strictly self-managing NOW.

    NEVER will I EVER use a LA again.
    They have caused hundreds of thousands of losses to me such that I will never make a profit as long as I live.
    LA to me are the spawn of the devil!!

    But hey we all live and learn!!

    As an additional comment.
    All my 2nd homes as per official Council knowledge now occupied by me and my various lodgers.

    No eviction process etc required.
    Just one month notice and if not gone I escort them from the property ably assisted by my pick axe handle.

    My home as per lodger contract.

    My lodgers all perfectly content with the arrangements.

    Indeed they hate 12 month AST which is why they flock to me with my err!! flexible arrangements.

    Funny that a former lodger is returning fo me as a group of 4.

    I must be doing something right would you not agree!?



    If he doesn't agree then you must be doing something right!

    I think you have found an excellent way of protecting yourself against the currently totally dysfunctional PRs legislation.

    However if I were to spend at least one night per month in each property I would hardly ever be at home, would have one room less to rent out in each property and in any case most of the properties are now in the names of my grown up children and their spouses would probably have something to say about them spending regular nights away in properties occupied by young singletons - on second thoughts........!

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    OK - So where is the catch?


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