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Labour’s rent holiday plan slammed as “unhelpful and very divisive”

Labour’s latest suggestion for the private rental sector - a rent holiday for tenants during the Coronavirus crisis - has been slammed as “extremely unhelpful and ver divisive.”

Outgoing shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who leaves the post this coming weekend when the new Labour leader is named, says: “At a time of widespread job losses and wage cuts of at least 20 per cent, it is not unreasonable for landlords, many benefiting from a mortgage holiday, to prepare for small declines in their regular income.”

But tenant referencing and insurance supplier LegalforLandlords says this is wholly unacceptable. 


“Labour’s assertion that rent should be suspended because landlords can ‘afford the decline in income’ is not only wholly untrue but the ‘us and them’ mentality is extremely unhelpful and very divisive at a time when landlords and tenants should be working together” explains managing director Sim Sekhon.

“While the financial support packages announced by the government are wide-ranging, and should prevent widespread rent defaults, there will undoubtedly be some tenants who find themselves unable to make their usual payments. Now is the time for landlords to be thinking outside the box - not just payment plans and payment holidays, but perhaps exchanging rent for labour to be carried out inside the property, like painting and decorating in exchange for one months’ rent, for example” he continues. 

He says that while the current period is one for working together, there are unfortunately some unscrupulous tenants who will pay little or no notice of tenancy agreements, damaging property and leaving the landlord with huge repair bills - at a time when they can least afford it. 

He says that while evictions cannot be carried out until the end of June “it’s sensible to get the wheels moving, making sure they’re top of the queue when the courts re-open.” 

And he adds: “We handle hundreds of cases every year where properties have been left in an absolutely horrific state, with neighbours afraid and forced to deal with persistent anti-social behaviour, so we appreciate that there are likely to be landlords who do find themselves facing this situation within the next few months. It’s an incredibly stressful situation to have to deal with.”

  • James B

    Let tenants do decorating?! I think many would cause more damage than good. Hopeless suggestion

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    That's a marketing letter - masquerading as an ' article ' and yes James - contracts for Labour with tenants are fraught with danger and mostly ill-advised.

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    Ha yes typical of Labours double standards. I understand John McDonnell has two properties, one is a holiday home in the Norfolk Broad, perhaps he should give that rent free to someone. Perhaps he could contact Shelter, I'm sure they will have a long list of people looking for accommodation. Then maybe he and others like him could show good party spirit and take in a few homeless people off the streets to live in any spare rooms they might have in their houses.

    Barry X

    I've tried to reply but for some reason it doesn't work :-(

    Luckily I copied my lengthy post into a notepad so I might try and re-post it later.


    Yip, its a bit like our First Minister in Scotland saying she would let refugees stay in her home..eh none so far!

  • Neil Moores

    It is difficult enough dealing with tenants with genuine hardship at the moment but there are plenty of others taking advantage of the situation. Particularly people who have advised us that they have been furloughed and cant afford to pay their rent. Where does 80% of your income go if you no longer go out and socialise, or travel to and from work with the associated costs involved in doing so.
    We also have 3 commercial properties. None of them are paying the rent either, which I understand when two of them are small hairdressing firms who have closed down. Our biggest rent payer, however, is Corals Bookmakers. They simply wrote advising that because they have shut down the shop they rent from us (which is the highest rent payment we receive of ALL our commercial AND residential property) they will not be paying rent until everything is back to normal. Not a request, simply a statement. Obviously my heart bleeds for them. That is £3,000pcm that we will not have coming in, making it even harder to accommodate those tenants who have slightly less reserves than them. For those who like a flutter, please remember that down the line.

  • icon

    "landlords, many benefiting from a mortgage holiday"? Have I missed something? Mortgage payments are deferred whcih means pay extra to catch up or add to the term. That is not a holiday. Just imagine, this idiot could have been Chancellor of the Exchequer had voters not seen sense.

  • Matthew Payne

    I have seen only 5 BTL lenders openly declare a holilday so far, and no doubt there will be conditions attached and fees to use, so I would say virtually no LL is taking a mortgage holiday currently and with section 24 and all the other layers of red tape and licensing, this urban myth that landlords even make modest profits now they are taxed on turnover and profit needs to be addressed by commentators. So I would say it is largely untrue, the exception being landlords that may have low or nil mortages on properties inherited or bought a long time ago.

  • Suzy OShea

    Mortgage payments form only part of the budget. what about the rest of the costs, uutilities, being used in ever-greater quantities by tenants at home in isolation; Council tax; water rates; tv license; insurance policies; telephone charges with internet packages; cleaning and maintenance charges! All of these charges still need to be met! I don't see councils suggesting a Council Tax holiday or delayed payment, no any of the other companies that make money out of tenants. LLs are often just the intermediaries paying all these bodies. They make far less profit than people imagine and have far fewer reserves than governments and idiotic political parties imagine. Many of them have had to take on extra loans to have an emergency fund just to keep the heating and the lights on for their tenants!

    There is no such thing as payment holiday for anyone! All debts have to be repaid. and the poor sucker renting out to Coral betting shops ought to send them a request for their planned repayment plan for their missing rent, otherwise they had better start looking for new premises! I sympathise with tenants and small businesses but betting shops are just legally feeding an addiction which has grown in such proportions that it is a social blight! The government only allows it to exist because of the taxes they pay! So they don't care about gambling addicts either!

  • icon

    You have to laugh at Labour.

    They seem to have forgotten that they were trounced at the election and are not actually in government!

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    They've got skin like iron ( and just as dense )

  • icon

    I use the modest "profit" to live on from my rental property income. Should the tenants refuse/are unable to or been told by some irresponsible politician not to pay, is there any Government assistance for me...i am fairly sure there wont be. I'm not holding my breathe for an answer.

  • icon

    "The problem with Socialism is..you eventually run out of other peoples money"!

  • icon

    Labour haven't got a clue what is really happening in the private rental sector, there is a massive percentage of "small" private landlords who will be struggling to make ends meet with this crisis, the introduction of this ridiculous proposal is yet another stab in the back to us small time landlords who own just a couple of properties to either support our income or are pensions, us landlords have families/children as well Labour!

    Im so glad they never got into power, they would crucify us at every opportunity.

    Don't get me started on their tenant 'right to buy' proposal for private landlords!


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