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Labour wants tenants to have two years to pay back virus arrears

Labour wants tenants running up arrears during the Coronavirus crisis to have two years to repay them, as part of a five-point ‘emergency action plan’.

It claims that current measures set out by the government in the Coronavirus Act fall well short of adequately protecting people from homelessness when they cannot pay their rent. 

And Labour’s new housing spokeswoman, Bristol MP Thangam Debbonaire, says her party would use temporary legislation to protect tenants from bankruptcy and homelessness due to rent arrears.


Labour’s five-point plan states:

    1    Extend the temporary ban on evictions for six months or however long is needed to implement the legal changes below;

    2    Give residential tenants the same protections as commercial tenants, by protecting them from being made bankrupt by their landlords for non-payment of rent;

    3    Bring forward the government’s proposal to scrap Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and outlaw evictions on the grounds of rent arrears if the arrears were accrued because of hardship caused by the Coronavirus crisis;

    4    Once evictions are prevented, grant renters at least two years to pay back any arrears accrued during this period;

    5    Speed up and improve the provision of Universal Credit and consider a temporary increase to the Local Housing Allowance to help prevent risk of homelessness.

Debbonaire says: “Current protections for people renting their homes are woefully inadequate. Unless the government acts now, many thousands of tenants will be at risk of losing their homes.

“The government has paused evictions for three months and answered Labour’s call to increase the Local Housing Allowance. 

“Both are welcome, but do not go far enough. It will take time for people to recover from this crisis and they need all the support we can give them to prevent what would be an unprecedented and devastating spike in homelessness.

“In the long term we need to fix the housing crisis – with stronger rent regulations and much more affordable and social housing – so that everyone has a home that is safe, secure, environmentally sustainable, and that they can afford to live in. What we need right now is an emergency package to set us on that path.

“Every Thursday we clap for key workers but many of them live in homes that are overcrowded, unsafe or expensive. When we emerge from this public health crisis, we cannot go back to business as usual.”

Poll: Is it fair on landlords to give tenants two years to repay arrears?


  • James B

    Still doing their best to build the tenant voter support with unrealistic policies they know they won’t have to bring in

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Momentum are pushing for Starmer to go much further, I heard they want Free Netflix, food, Tinnies and dog-food for Staffies from Supermarkets.
    It would be a race to see what could finish off the country the quickest, and I think the Labour party could win that one.


    😂😂 Don’t go giving them ideas please.

  • jeremy clarke

    Labour under the "leadership?" of many clowns over the past years have wanted lots of things, let us all hope that they never ever see the light of day as anything other than "wants!"

  • icon

    So when they decide to move on before the 2 years is up will they still pay what they owe or complain when you try to take it from the deposit.
    This is why Labour will be on the opposite benches forever. The so called Leader may have changed but its same meat different gravy!!

    S l
    • S l
    • 12 May 2020 05:51 AM

    The deposit is not enough to pay 3 months rent let alone damages and cleaning. And the tenant left laughing all the way!!!
    Does those idiots even know that tenants can just dissappear with no way of finding them especially the non British tenants

  • Mark Wilson

    Is the idea so outlandish? If you look at the idea in the same context as the Business Bounce Back loans being offered. Borrow up to £50,000 for up to 6 years, interest free for the first year with no personal guarantee. Of course, if a tenant is in arrears, and puts forward a 2 year pay back proposal, would a Landlord refuse it? One thing is for sure, tenants like businesses need a break.


    Mark, you’re a fool. I watched many a comment from you, convincing yourself you’re reasonable and moderate, when in fact your proposing nonsense!

    The banks, who can borrow from the BoE at 0.1% are lending out BBLs for profit with the Govt. underwriting them. Also, the person needing the money is the one that borrows and takes the responsibility (in this case, it should be the tenant) and the banks can destroy your credit rating and any possibility of lending in the medium term if the borrower defaults. Furthermore, the bank can still refuse if you don’t meet the criteria, whereas in this example a LL would have no choice. If we’re talking commercial tenants, then the Small Business Grants can service the rental payments…!

    Barry X

    Mark - like Luke Aaron, I've seen quite a few comments from you and its perfectly clear that you have no idea what you're talking about, no genuine Private Lettings business experience where your own hard-earned substantial sums of money, and years of experience and hard effort and risk taking, have all been invested in one of the few (probably only) sectors of the economy heavily under attack.

    I agree with Luke - you are a fool to keep blurting out total rubbish. Take a more humble approach and spend a few years investing YOUR OWN MONEY in private rentals before you feel qualified to comment further and make a bigger fool of yourself.


    ARe you really Polly Neate?

    S l
    • S l
    • 12 May 2020 05:57 AM

    You obviously are no landlord for sure. Your remarks showed your lack of knowledge of tenants behaviour and inability to recoup any losses let alone having any hope of finding the rogue tenants. All these ridiculous ideas are creating more and more rogue tenants who are self entitled and fleecing the government for more freebies with tales of woe created by themselves

  • Barry X

    Like most of Labour's ridiculous "give away someone else's stuff" policies to try and win vote from delusional and probably very ignorant people, there is no sense, fairness or logic in this. Therefore the "New Labour Party" as I call the Tories in Labour clothing might well take an interest in adopting this rubbish - as I've said before their view seems to be "if you like Labour we'll do more of the same so you'll LOVE and vote for us!"

    There are so many flaws and problems with these ludicrous - and unethical and unfair - proposals.

    For a start the outrageous and deeply flawed (and ill-conceived) Tenant Fees Act 2019 prohibits us from charging more than 3% interest and we are banned from charging for costs of chasing and collecting debt - all totally outrageous and not something the government would dare do to any other sector I'm quite sure.

    If you were a tenant with some outstanding credit card bills to pay off you have an easy choice.... would you like to stop paying the rent (voluntary anyhow these days) and at worst - if anyone could even collect it from you - pay just 3% a year interest for as long as you feel like owing some or all of it (or just in theory before you move out and vanish repaying none of up to two years++ in rent) and with no risk of paying any other costs, or would you like to pay around 33% a year in interest to the credit card company/Bank and also face full-on costs for every letter they send and step they take to recover the rest of what you owe (with interest and costs)?

    Obviously once more people know these things it would be a joy for many (most?) tenants to live rent free when they feel like it and instead use the money to extend but keep paying off other loans and naturally all their credit card bills!

    As Landlords we've already been FORCED with no choice to become powerless fall-guys offering the cheapest credit by far and with no teeth left to chase or collect it except at our own expense.

    Now the government and/or Labour are doing all they can to help tenants finally discover these loopholes (at our sole expense and misery) for themselves, as well as greatly expand them and make them ever more disastrous for us.

    Ideally, if I were sufficiently influential, I'd get EVERY landlord or agent acting for them in the country to issue s.21 notices for EVERY TENANT IN THE COUNTRY (while we still can)!!!! Issuing the notices is only simple paperwork and there are no court fees or costs.

    THEN also say we are not taking/accepting any more tenants under the current legislative regime or trending direction after we get vacant possession unless during the 3 month period (and shortly after if more time is required) things change dramatically.

    Obviously a stunt like this would get us some attention to say the least, and provide a good opportunity (at last) to explain our position and why after years of attack we've had enough and this is just the beginning .

    [They need to have it spelt out to them; these are OUR properties and OUR businesses and OUR livelihoods, not Shelter's or Generation Rent's or Labour's or the fake-Tory parties, or anyone else's and like everyone else we want and deserve to be treated fairly and not have our rights, income and livelihood steadily eroded and taken from us.

    The message must be clear; we WILL defend our rights and WILL fight back. We WILL stick together, be well organised, take excellent expert advice and become a serious force to be reckoned with. The economy and country needs and depends on us so why allow them to endlessly take the mick and keep kicking, defaming and abusing us?]

    There would then be a three month period for all those tenants sufficiently concerned about becoming homeless, and having nowhere on offer/available to go, to write to their MPs and beg them to help.

    This is just one of a number of ideas I have for us to fight back, as we now should and must.

    If only this hadn't become such a spineless country of supplicants depending on useless "professional bodies" to speak for them/us when clearly they won't do a thing except gradually surrender every step of the way backwards until we're all out of business.....


  • icon
    • 11 May 2020 19:32 PM

    Unfortunately for those leveraged LL they do not have the luxury of firing off S21's etc.
    They have the imperative of mortgages to be paid.
    Hopefully by rents.
    They will naturally be very careful with doing anything that might cause rent paying tenants to stop pay their rent.

    This from the perspective of self- preservation!!

    You couldn't blame leveraged LL from behaving in this way.

    It would also feed into the already extensive anti-LL rhetoric.

    Not antagonising further those who rail against LL would be a wise behaviour.

    It would only give the anti-LL lobby even more ammunition to persuade Govt to introduce even more bonkers ani-LL policies.

    We LL need to tread very carefully.
    NOBODY. Is on our side!!

    Barry X

    Paul, thanks but;

    (1) Serving s.21 notices is only the start of a long process, nothing will happen quickly and its not a commitment to do anything after three months (in fact once served I believe - under current rules - it's valid for 6 months and can continue to be a threat).

    (2) if done on a large enough scale it gives the strong message that we've so far completely failed to give... we NEED to be heard and taken very seriously at long last.

    (3) I don't think the leverage or need for rent are good arguments against taking critically needed action to save our industry.... if this (or something like it) isn't done soon and on a big enough scale to get national attention for a few weeks at least then all the highly leveraged LLs will find themselves increasingly even more at risk from defaulting tenant who live rent free for many months if not a couple of years then simply run away.

    (3) there's plenty more to say but I think that's enough for now.

    Thanks again.

  • icon
    • 11 May 2020 20:23 PM

    I fully understand your sentiments and totally agree with them.

    But unfortunately as a highly leveraged LL I am extremely nervous about doing anything that might cause my occupants to stop pay rent.

    I do understand that by doing nothing I may well be condemning myself to further more penal anti-LL policies.
    I'm just NOT brave enough to risk bankruptcy.
    Servicing my mortgages is all I am concerned about.

    If that means I have to eat some humble pie to achieve that then that is what I will do.
    Firing off S21 will just cause Govt to bring forward abolition of the AST and S21
    We need to preserve the AST and S21 for as long as possible.
    Antagonising Govt is not something that LL should do.
    Stating our case fair enough but don't give Govt reason to introduce overnight anti-LL policies.
    It is bad enough as it is without giving Govt any further excuse and opportunity to ###k up the PRS even more.

    We simply cannot afford to risk throwing our supposed weight around.
    I think you would find that Govt would very quickly emasculate LL even more if they tried to.

    Personally I am hoping to survive long enough to get out of the PRS.
    The risks for me as a leveraged LL no longer make business sense.

    I will just return my capital to a savings account or keep it in cash away from prying eyes.

    I might if possible buy a 4 bed house and take in lodgers.
    But my days of being a BTL LL are over.
    The risks simply are not personally worth it for me anymore.

    S l
    • S l
    • 11 May 2020 22:27 PM

    You seem to miss the point. The government, the council, the shelter are all aready making anti landlord laws because we are docile and we are seen as weak and easy target because we dont fight back.


    Totally sympathise. I was fortunate enough to part with my tenants and sell up 3 days before lockdown because of the stress of PRS. It's no longer viable or desirable to BTL. Especially with a debt leveraging. In my opinion, getting out IS THE ONLY OPTI0N NOW.

  • icon

    If a tenant has been furloughed then the income has dropped by 20%. If the rent drops by the same amount for say 3 months then the arrears should be paid back over the same period. That is to say full rent plus the %age of arrears added for the same period that it was reduced.
    If a tenant has been financially checked out to start with then all landlords will be able to see the affordability of their tenant and could in fact decide to stretch the repayment period over a longer than the grace period or even require repayment in the first month or 2 after furlough has ceased.
    For the leader of the opposition to demand such foolish periods to repay rent arrears granted by a reasonable landlord then he deserves to remain in opposition until hell freezes over. Sadly with all the anti landlord legislation hell freezing over may happen much much sooner.

    S l
    • S l
    • 12 May 2020 06:13 AM

    Even with furlough, lots of workers are still ok because they save on travelling costs. In fact, the sales of the companies that are opened during lock down had a very high increased of sales eg toys, luxuries, games etc etc. People are spending a lot more money during lockdown than when they are working!!! So money is not the issues. It is the prioritising having a roof over your head and food on the table instead of spending on luxuries and unnecessary items.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    On 80% wages, with less outgoing, pay the Full rent and cancel some luxury subscriptions.
    People in the 21st century have lost sight of the most important thing, - being a roof over your head.
    It might sound hard, but lots of - majority of tenants are managing that.

  • icon

    Totally agree! 8m sure about anyone else but we are saving a fortune with not paying petrol/travel/child related costs. Enough to pay rent. Many tenants, including my last couple, need to prioritise rent before going off to gigs.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Hey guys,
    I've put a video up on my facebook site about the differences between Residential Landlord and Commercial Possession processes.
    Looking for some feedback ?


    I would, but I don’t use Facebook.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I think you can view a page on Facebook without having an account, but don't think you can comment.
    But you can view and comment on it on 'You Tube Possession Friend '

  • icon
    • 12 May 2020 01:24 AM

    @ S I
    Yep I totally agree with what you state.

    However as a very timid leveraged LL I am in no position to get stroppy.

    If I wasn't leveraged then no doubt about it I would be much braver!

    I just have to survive for the next 4 years by which time I will be out of the AST BTL sector having sold up.

    I just have to hope no more penal policies are introduced before I can get out.

    Leveraged LL cannot afford to be stroppy as they have too much to lose.

    Unencumbered LL can choose to be far more vociferous than leveraged LL.

    It is pointless leveraged LL attempting to kick over the traces.

    LL will never defeat a Govt hell-bent on appeasing a generally anti-private LL society with consequently even more damaging policies for LL.

    It is in the nature of things.
    You only have to see what happened in Ireland which had far fewer negative LL policies.

    LL have deserted the sector and refuse to return despite the Irish Govt desperately trying to entice LL to return.
    The LL aren't having any of it and consequently there is a massive homeless problem in Ireland.
    Belatedly the Irish Govt has realised that it's anti-LL agenda was very stupid.
    But the damage has been done.
    It will take a generation before LL return in the numbers they once were.
    Industry memories will have to fade before the Irish PRS revives.

    LL simply aren't strong enough to resist bonkers Govt policies.

    Us leveraged LL are in very parlous positions and simply cannot risk doing anything that would compromise our ability to service our mortgages.
    If this means even more onerous policies then so be it.
    It maybe that because of them that LL ultimately respond by selling up.
    Personally I do not have the defensive capital to pay mortgages without rent receipts.
    That makes me very vulnerable so perhaps you can appreciate my cowardice.
    I'd far rather be a timid LL and be gone in 4 years time voluntarily rather than being bankrupted in a couple of years time because of my assertiveness.
    Survival is all I am interested in long enough to escape the PRS.
    I therefore don't wish to do anything that might upset the proverbial applecart.
    I don't intend to be a martyr for anyone.
    I'd much prefer to be an ex-AST BTL LL who successfully sold up and was doing other things.
    I aspire to become a lodger LL even though I consider this nay be an unrealistic aspiration for some time if ever.
    But I certainly don't wish to remain an AST BTL LL and there is no way I can practically incorporate nor could I ever be an unencumbered LL.
    Getting out of the PRS is my preferred option.
    CV19 has just delayed this process but hey that's life!!



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