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Activists demand Covid Rent Debt Fund to wipe out 100% of arrears

The Generation Rent campaign wants public cash in a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear rent arrears for tenants who have run up Coronavirus-related debts.

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of the campaign, says: “The government’s measures to increase support through the benefits system have failed to prevent half a million households racking up rent arrears, which will be impossible to pay back even when the economy recovers. 

“While most are not at immediate risk of eviction, they are still being forced to pay the price of the pandemic and face the prospect of homelessness without further action. To get these people back on their feet, we need Rishi Sunak to step in and clear these arrears with a Covid Rent Debt Fund.”


Baroness Kennedy - now a cross-bencher but until June last year a Labour member of the House of Lords - made her remarks ahead of a Lords debate on the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions. 

She argues that government action has failed to address the underlying £360m of rent arrears which is putting homes at risk.

Generation Rent now wants Chancellor Rishi Sunak to use next month’s Budget to clear rent arrears and provide £288m to allow landlords to claim 80 per cent of the rent due.

In the House of Lords yesterday Labour’s Lord Kennedy and Liberal Democrat Baroness Grender tabled “motions of regret” criticising the ban on bailiff-led evictions, claiming it also reduced the arrears threshold.

They said that meant tenants with more than six months’ arrears were still vulnerable to eviction, and highlighted the financial challenges facing renters.

Generation Rent says that in August 2020, 36 per cent more private renters were relying on Local Housing Allowance to pay their rent than in February 2020: the campaign also estimates that 538,000 private renter households in England are not receiving enough in LHA to cover their rent.

A statement from the campaign says: “As well as being grounds for eviction, rent arrears can also lead to a County Court Judgment which makes it more difficult to find a new home, and damage your credit score which can make it difficult to apply for mobile phone contract or credit card in future.”



It adds that under its proposed Covid Rent Debt Fund, “the government would clear renters’ arrears, keeping them in their homes, while allowing landlords to apply for compensation up to 80 per cent of the original monthly rent.”

The statement also says that while the idea of simply cancelling rent has raised concerns about landlords’ property rights, “legal experts have backed Generation Rent’s proposal as a proportionate way of dealing with debt that balances the interests of landlords and tenants.”

It does not name the legal experts in question.

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    They need told to grow up and pay their way. There's no magic money tree!

  • George Dawes

    The lefties live in cloud cuckoo land , couldn’t run a bath let alone a business

    Algarve  Investor

    Unlike the woman in charge of test and trace and formerly in charge of TalkTalk, you mean? I get the distinct impression she's a friend of the Tory right.

    There are clueless people on all sides of the political divide - unfortunately many of them often make it to the top. Definitely not a left/right issue.


    What like you, you mean? Oh wait landlords don't run a business they are investors.


    John S.

    Showing your lack of business acumen yet again!

    Landlords invest in their own businesses. How else do businesses get financed?

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    • 03 February 2021 14:07 PM

    Close the Lords down. NOW!!!!!!!!

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    What about all the tenants who have scraped by paying their rent during this period. They don't have any arrears so will receive nothing.

    Whilst SOME tenants obviously cannot help being in arrears there will be many who have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to not pay and they will just pick up this nice reward for being bad with money whilst the responsible ones will be penalised by their absence from this fund.

    Once again we reward bad behaviour and punish the good, this is the society we live in and one that will continue to set a precedent for the future.

    Don't get me wrong I would love the money to clear my rent arrears book, I just don't think this is the right way for the reasons above. How about a student type loan that just lives with them for 30 years? At least that way it wasn't entirely free money and if they get back on their feet they can repay it like everyone else has to in society.

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    Chris - Very well put. Thats what I think. Hard working honest tenants who didn't make excuses will feel whats it all about?? Simple answer is they will continue to have a roof over their heads cos they lived up to their contract. A question to put to future tenants "Did you pay your rent in the pandemic?"
    Non payers will live in the worst areas with the worst landlords & they will regret being a opportunistic rent shirker.
    Increasing amount of tenants wanting housing than ever before since I started doing this. More LL's retiring less stock available. Rents going up!! Poor quality comedy agents like a couple on this forum will soon be out of business. Sharper non whinging agents will prosper

  • icon

    kennedy is a labor trougher--life long and is married to another labor trougher--so shes very happy spending opm

  • George Dawes

    They claim everything on expenses...

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    If the fund is to clear 100% of arrears why can the landlords only claim 80%? Where's the other 20% going?

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    That will probably be an extra reward for them because they are so good to be drawing benefit. I remember some time back a 3 bed House (let as 4) was for sale with the Tenants in place. I viewed & had the full low down on it, the owner lived in Nigeria. 6 officially living there on Benefit, Council paid them £90 pw for accommodation element regardless so anything they got cheaper they were allowed to keep. Costing Council £90 x 6 = £540 pw x 52 = £28'080. pa they were paying. LL £75 pw each so he was getting £450 pw x 52 = £23'400. pa, or £1'950. pm. I had a similar property let at the time privately for £1'200 pm = £14'400, pa, so it was costing the Public Purse about double to house those guys, what a waste of tax payers money, plus keep them and sleep half the day, kept the place in a mess, water coming down from Bathroom into the kitchen because of misuse, hence mushrooms growing on the wall of kitchen, it was a relative new Town House (25 / 30 years), previously owned by Council or Housing Association type. They are laying down the Law to us, goodness me.


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