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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Why should landlords ‘subsidise those who are struggling to pay their rent’?

The government has been slammed for attempting to shift the responsibility for renters in need onto landlords. 

Chris Town a landlord and former vice chair of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and Conservative Party member, wants to see the current government do more to support buy-to-let landlords. 

Town, writing for Conservative Home, said: “In July, the housing minister assured MPs that the end of the pause on possession proceedings by private landlords on 23 August would ensure that: “all people – landlords and tenants – have access to justice.”

“Instead, just two days before the ban was due to be lifted, the government U-turned, and decided that tenants and landlords should continue to be denied access to justice. In doing so, they have lost the trust of a large number of natural Conservative supporters.

“Banning repossessions has not been without its victims. By the time the courts open to hear cases on the Government’s new date of 20th September (if, this time, Ministers keep their word), it will have been six months since the original repossessions ban was introduced.

“That’s six months without landlords being able to take action against tenants committing anti-social behaviour, thus causing misery for fellow tenants or neighbours. It is six months without landlords being able to draw tenancies to an end where doing so would enable victims of domestic violence to be separated from their abusers. It is six months in which landlords have been unable to reclaim possession of their own home where they have rented it out whilst working elsewhere such as those in the military or diplomatic service.

“And it is six months in which landlords have been unable to take any action against those tenants whose rent arrears have nothing to do with Covid-19. This includes those who were building arrears prior to lockdown, and those who are deliberately not paying their rent even where they have the means to do so.” 

Town continued: “Although the government has now announced that landlords will be required to only give anti-social tenants four weeks’ notice of their plans to repossess a property, this does not include long, drawn-out court processes where tenants contest such notices.

“This will be of no help to landlords facing rent arrears where the courts will only prioritise cases of tenants who have built debts totalling over a year of unpaid rent. Taking the Government’s average for weekly rents across England of £200, this could amount to a lost income to a landlord of over £20,000 when you take account the notice period required to a tenants the average six months for the courts to process a case from an application for repossession to it actually happening.

“It is completely unacceptable to expect landlords to undertake the responsibility of the state to subsidise those who are struggling to pay their rent. I might expect Labour to have no sympathy for landlords, but I would hope that a Conservative government would show some understanding that most landlords are not wealthy, and cannot afford to forgo rent for long periods of time.

“A massive 94% of private landlords let property as an individual, with many renting out just one or two properties as a pension or for their main income. The average gross non-rental income of landlords is £25,000 a year. About four in ten report a gross non-rental income of less than £20,000.

“The repossession ban is a sticking plaster to the fundamental problem that, unfortunately, some renters have been badly hit by the economic impact of the pandemic and can’t afford to pay their rent. This situation will only get worse with the ending of furlough. The best protection for these renters and for landlords is to enable them to pay off their rent arrears.

“This should be done through interest-free, Government-guaranteed hardship loans for tenants in England to cover Covid-related arrears. The money would be paid directly to the landlord, and the immediate future of their tenancy secured. Where tenants refuse to seek a loan, or where they might not be best suited to them, income support is needed for landlords to cover income lost as a result of coronavirus.

“Similar schemes have already been developed in Scotland and Wales meaning once again that the UK government is on the back foot, rather than taking the initiative to support renters and landlords.

“A cast-iron guarantee could then be given that the courts will open again to hear possession cases from 20th September, with priority being given to cases related to anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and rent arrears unrelated to Covid.

“The courts would operate under the rules already agreed, meaning that landlords would need to set out in their claim any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the pandemic. Where this information is not provided, judges would be able to adjourn proceedings with all the costs involved having to be met by the landlord.

“This would be a good incentive to ensure that they had done all they could to work with the tenant to find a solution, which is what the large majority of landlords have been doing. They deserve some recognition for this and some support where it is needed.”

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    The Tories are proving to be better friends to rogue tenants than Corbyn!

    The solution is so simple. Government should lend the rent money to those tenants who need it and allow fast eviction of all problem tenants who make the lives of neighbours and landlords a misery.

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    At last in this article a voice of reason shouting through a fog of unfairness. I can’t believe over the last few years how such abuse of state power has been set against a group of generally honest hard working tax payers. And where those who break a legal agreement are rewarded and supported.

  • Paul Barrett

    Govt intends to eradicate LL.
    Everything it does is with this intention in mind.

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    what does government gain from that?

     
    Matthew Payne

    They may have been incompetant, too focussed on winning a greater share of the tenant vote, too under pressure on Brexit and other things to push back against what have become powerful pro tenant lobbyists, but one thing the government can't survive without for at least the next 10 years is the PRS in its current format at least until such time at the BTR industry is far more established. The PRS soaks up the shortfall on social housing numbers without which HMG is up a creek, so lets hope someone in the government realises this and they start to row back on what has become seen as this focus to exterminate the private landlord.

     
    Mark Wilson

    I agree, they want to get rid of mum and pop operators. If this site is a fair represent of them then it is no wonder.

     
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    Mark

    The vast majority of tenants are satisfied with their landlords and the properties they rent - hence the nearly 4 year length of tenancy in what might be regarded as a pretty transient population. Given the vast majority of landlords own only one or two properties, it follows that the vast majority of "good" landlords are those you insultingly call "mom and pop" landlords.

    However I suspect I am wasting my time in trying to put a logical argument or plain facts to you. You mentioned some time ago you would prefer a Tesco landlord. Such landlords build cardboard clad high rise properties such as many students now have to endure and their rents are at the highest level and go up as much as possible year after year. By contrast, most small (average) landlords only put up rents at the change of tenancies or when tenants are causing problems or unexpected expense.

     
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    Mark, you are an idiot !

     
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    This political attack on all landlords but particularly the smaller ones will have quite serious unintended consequences. Although there have been cases of poor service from landlords to tenants we must always remember who actually owns the property. After all you would not be allowed to walk into a car showroom , take a vehicle and not pay for it. It will come to roost and it’s the tenants who will suffer, ironically the people they are supposed to be protecting

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    Totally agree! The honest tenants and landlords are subsidising the rogues in both camps and the loony lefties are too dim to see that - or don't care as the "cause" is more important than the effect.

    What really bugs me is the Tories apparently falling into line with this leftie claptrap. I think Paul B could be right about the end objective being the elimination of landlords and the emergence of huge corporate landlords owned by their major donors. Good luck to tenants if they end up being housed in cardboard clad high rise ghettos such as many students are now.

     
    Mark Wilson

    What unintended consequences do you foresee?

     
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    Mark

    Speaking from 3 years experience of the loony SNP legislation, one unexpected consequence is that rents very quickly rose by a third for the best properties due to both sides losing the certainty of minimum length tenancies. A second was the rise of Airbnb and reduced availability of long-term homes to rent. A third was the fact that all joint tenants were trapped in a tenancy unless there was unanimous agreement by all joint tenants to end the tenancy. I could go on - but the bottom line is all of the above harmed tenants but usually benefited landlords. Other measures mooted by the loony lefties such as rent controls will also have harmful effects for tenants as rents will always be put up as much as possible as often as possible whereas currently landlords tend to keep rents stable for good tenants for several years and often for the entire tenancy.

     
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    Rent shirking tenants will do their best not to get this loan as there is more chance of getting the money from them in the future to pay it as opposed to rent. They know they will get away from it if the eviction process doesnt go through to being able to get a ccj

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    To some landlords.You provide a service like many people invoice for it that is rent due your customer dose not pay so why are you different from the thousands of people who provide services and have to fight for payment through the courts that you think that the UK population should bale you out

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    If someone doesn't pay my business I don't do any more work for them. However tenants can still abuse the landlord by refusing to move out of the property and this is aided and abetted by the government. The only reason the UK population should help landlords is because they appear to be the only sector in having their hands tied and unable to do anything about non payment and abuse by tenants. They still have to continue to provide the service.

     
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    Jo Jo ( or Mark/Seb)

    Where has any landlord on this site asked for a bailout? We are asking for our tenants who need help to get it so they can meet their obligations and stay in the home we provide for them in exchange for rent paid promptly and in full.

    As Emma points out, the problem is that currently, unlike every other supplier, we can't simply limit our losses by refusing to continue to supply a service no longer being paid for. If you have been paying attention you would already have identified this key difference and understood why the current situation is so unfair, both to landlords and to decent tenants who can't get the homes being occupied by rent defaulters.

     
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    @ Jo Jo who ever you maybe, We are not asking to be '' bailed out '' as you put it, we simply need tenants to pay their rent or move out.

     
  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Its all about VOTES, plain and simple. There are more Tenants than landlords and the Govt's attack on Landlords, siding with rent-defaulting Rogue tenants has taken the pressure for Housing them off Local Authoritiies and secured their votes in many Labour constituencies in the last election.

    The Conservatives don't have any ' Values ' their policies consist of whatever attracts the most votes. Many will swing to Brexit party for a number of reasons.

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    its not votes

     
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    How many tenants are likely to vote Tory ? that is if they vote at all.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Come the next GE we will see many Labour and Tory votes migrate to a new Reform Party.
    There are many disenchanted Tory and Labour voters that would be only too willing to transfer their vote to a Reform Party led by Mr Farage.
    A man who understands the modern world.

    He would certainly not advocate free rental accommodation at the cost of the LL.

    About time the eviction process for rent defaulting only followed the Australian model.

    I don't know why bother Govt bothers to chase the GR vote.
    These types wouldn't vote Tory if you paid them.
    Most are lefty indoctrinated University types.
    They will need to grow up before they see the stupidity of voting Labour.

  • Paul Barrett

    @robertbrown

    Yes indeed so correct.
    At NO time would I expect a Govt to bail me out.
    All I ask is to be able to get rid of rent defaulting tenants quickly.

    That means 2 weeks and they are gone.

    I fully understand that is then for me to source rent paying tenants.
    That is a business risk I am fully aware of.

    What I NEVER expected was that Govt would force by law private LL to provide a service at zero cost to the user.
    That is no business.
    That is sequestration of private property for effective Govt use.
    Without such Govt sequestration then it would be for Councils to house the millions of evicted tenants

    No surprise then that Govt completely ignores the plight of LL especially in England which they have control of.
    The more enlightened Scottish and Welsh Govt have determined it is ludicrous to leave LL in the lurch and are taking steps to ensure that LL DON'T have to evict tenants for rent defaulting.
    The UK Govt won't do this as it sees the LL predicament as a further chance to put them out of business.
    Plus of course surely no coincidence that LL forced to sell up in the SE will generally have large CG to tax !!

  • Paul Barrett

    @hugharcher

    The Govt doesn't gain a thing apart from satisfying its bonkers desire to eradicate small LL.

    There is no logic to this but logic has nothing to do with ridiculous ideology.

    It will take years before the effects are noticed of LL selling up.

    It is highly unlikely that unencumbered LL will be under pressure to leave the sector.
    They are to the Govt's great annoyance far better able to weather the problems of eviction etc.

    But Govt has identified a great opportunity to get rid of mortgaged LL.

    It doesn't want the little man to rise above his station which is what BTL mortgages have facilitated.
    It wants the little man back in his box leaving just rich people to be LL.
    Of course it begs the question on who will house all the tenants currently housed by LL who have mortgages if all such LL sell up.

    I DON'T believe Govt has thought that far ahead!!
    It will take years for mortgaged LL to sell up.
    Many of them will sell and become unencumbered on their remaining properties.

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    Its hard to understand why Government wants to force LL's into rent arrears it makes no economic sense. Whether a LL has a property paid for or not makes little difference since the introduction of S24 as LL can't off set the interest but must pay the full tax really. Therefore the Government is the main beneficiary of the rental income as there is no cost on them. The way I see it I have a House vacant for months now mainly due to anti-LL regulations making everything more impossible for the LL, also making it more difficult to let & comply. I do pay c/tax on the empty property without the income and there is talk of doubling it, in which case so be it. I am a 40% + tax payer so every month the House is vacant Gov' lose £800.00, do the mutton heads that control us not understand this at a time the Gov' is strapped for cash.
    Mark, huge loss of revenue on income, this is the unforeseen consequences of Government actions, now you know what I see.

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    The policies of the Tories even before Covid were clearly anti small landlord.. If the government wants to encourage big LLs it can do it with tax incentives and.. indeed by withdrawing things like tax releif and depreciation allowance. But such withdrawal should only apply to new LL's /additional purchases. Retrospective altering of the goal posts, especially for elderly LL's who have invested for their retirement is grotesque. And, such individuals will, in amycase die and allow small LL's to die out if that's what the Tories want.

    Paul Barrett

    The Tories want rid of small LL.
    Just a simple fact.
    LL have to manage this desire to ensure they remain viable.
    Unfortunately Govt has power to move more goalposts retrospectively.
    LL cannot be certain of anything.
    This Govt has proved that.

     
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    It is about time this government realised it needs private LL and without them there would be a huge homelessness problem. The mortgage interest payment is a legitimate expense, every other business claims expenses. Sunak needs to look at this again and realise the more he drives LL to sell their properties the more of a homeless problem the government will have.

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