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Labour MP demands Covid rent arrears to be paid by public funds

Labour MP Stephen Timms has asked Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to commit to five measures to tighten controls on the private rental sector.

Timms wants: 

- The Housing Act to be amended to protect renters who have lost income during the Coronavirus pandemic;


- The Renters Reform Bill to be introduced as soon as possible to stop landlords using what he calls ‘no fault evictions’ during the rest of the pandemic;

- Funding for councils to clear tenants’ debts in areas where the Local Housing Allowance is deemed inadequate;

- Support given to landlords “at a serious risk of financial hardship” - but this would only be to allow landlords to claim up to 80 per cent of income lost through arrears;

- The government to “properly resource local authority regulation of the private rental sector so they are able to help protect tenants from illegal eviction and harassment.”




Timms makes the call in a letter to Jenrick, in which he claims that over 500,000 private rental tenants are now in arrears as a result of the pandemic, which he claims has disproportionately hit renters from the ethnic minorities and poorer sections of the community. 

“At present there is no policy framework in place to deal with the growing rent arrears crisis. In the absence of any regulation, therefore, landlords are incentivised to take their tenants to court in order to claim unpaid rent. Renters are left to fend for themselves” writes Timms, who is Labour MP for the London seat of East Ham.  

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.

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    This is all well and good but where is the protection for LLs who have tenants with huge arrears refusing to pay? The support for tenants must be balanced by a court system that allows LLs to deal with rogue tenants swiftly.


    Every case should be considered on its merits, which is what courts should do.

    Profligate spendthrifts don't deserve being bailed out by the public purse.

     G romit

    Landlords must have the automatic right to have either an attachment to earnings or to benefits, so rogue tenants can not walk away scot free. Such a measure will change tenant behaviour for the better of all concerned.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Labour ( or Any Politicians, certainly none of the tenant support groups ) believe there is any such thing as a deliberate Rent Defaulting system-gaming, Rogue tenant. !

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    Yet another Labour MP that has lost touch with reality.

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    It seems to me the head line and the story are two different things. The Renters Reform Bill, funding for Councils to clear debts for Benefit fraudsters in the main don't worry about any one else, they must be protected at all costs.
    We will have to prove serious financial hardship whats that got to do with it if the money is owed its owed and should be paid, I don't see the Lenders taking a hit.
    Supposing even if 80% is to be paid to who ?, if its to the Tenant the LL is not going to get it.

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    That's why I will never vote for labour. Bunch of incompetent useless a$$wipes. Typical vermin draining the economy and hardworking people.

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    • 01 March 2021 10:20 AM


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    Mr Timms MP, he wants 5 measures to tighten rent Controls on Private Rented Sector. I seen it Reported Last year by a Landlord Association that we are already Controlled by 157 pieces of legislation, we are strangled to death and he wants more. I suppose another 5 can't do any harm just scrap the other 157. No other Business is abused by Parliament so much, what they are not taking on board is you can't have an economy based on Housing alone. The Media keep peddling fake news about shortage when its not true, its to keep the Big developers building High Rise horrible Flats, if they can't sell to them then they'll rent to them, making Billions at the expense of young buyers & renters, getting incentives and coaxed into buying Over Priced Flats that they will live to regret, this is main reason they want existing LL's out of the way. We can't be supplying affordable Quality accommodation to Tenants because they want our Business, so get rid of us by every means possible.

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    I will be delighted to only receive 80% of my rent when and only when HMRC are entitled to only receive 80% of the tax due. There is an expression often used to describe people like Stephen Timms but if I used it here my comment would, quite rightly, be deleted.

  • James B

    Landlords need to make these issues a thing of the past and make homeowner working guarantors mandatory... can’t do much about all the tenant defaulters in the pipeline but we can correct things going forward
    Those tenants with no guarantor can go with council or housing associations
    It’s only getting worse with legislation and traps for landlords and an imminent tenant favoured mandatory tenancy agreement coming soon I think , so we need to up our game


    Yes Yes. We should be using this whilst we can. The agitators will soon be campaigning to make it illegal to enforce payment for rent or damages.



    You're assuming the agitators understand cause and effect.

    Sadly the evidence is that they allow nothing to get in the way of them pursuing their dogma and spitting out their hatred for those who have worked hard to be regarded as "privileged".

    Free markets keep us all free and balance supply and demand. "Regulated" markets, such as Timms dreams of, will make us slaves of the mob.

    As Mel Gibson once said (although in a bit of pain at the time) "FREEDOM!"

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    OK I wasn't considering to reward them, so we'll agree to differ, in the eyes of the law if you are a LL we are already Criminals, why else did they change what was always Civil Matters to Criminal it was just to class us as Criminals for being so stupid to put a roof over other people heads, off our own backs at no cost to the Government we deserve to be punished and Jailed. I know there is plenty of space in the Out Back, The Snowys and Mount Isa, we are not there but here. Maybe instead of Prison, ban them from benefit for x-number of years. They took control away from the LL's , banned him from the Property , then fine him for not being in Control, now you square that one, otherwise we would not be discussing those Cannabis Farms because the would not exist.



    The whole point of suggesting big far away places to which to transport offenders is exactly that they're big with plenty of space AND far away so we're NOT there.

    After all, they're hardly likely to make good neighbours!

    P.S., I'd be a relatively pleased with your suggestion of banning them from benefits provided it was long enough to compensate their victims fully - but that could be done along with making them work 60 hours a week in blazing sunshine in the Outback or in blizzards in Siberia or Northern Canada.

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    • 01 March 2021 15:38 PM

    They still need to be somewhere whereby that they cannot have the opportunity to grow weed or wreck people's property.

    Prison seems to be a sensible and suitable place to do that.

    I certainly like the idea of no benefits for the rest of their lives when they come out of prison after a long sentence.

    Or at least any benefits they get is given straight to the LL who have to pay all costs that were spent on the renovations.


    I would be quite happy for prisoners to have unlimited access to any harmful drugs they want, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin.....whatever they want......as long as it didn't interfere with them putting in tomorrow's 10 hour shift.

    But these recent posts seem to have escaped from the cannabis thread almost next door?

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    Oh..and by the way...where do 'Public Funds' come from? The taxpayer - so we get to pay again!


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