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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Baroness kicks off campaign to have all arrears evictions suspended

A pro-tenant campaign group has this morning kicked off its campaign to have the eviction ban - already extended until late August - extended further or even made permanent.

Generation Rent, with a new leader in the form of ex-Labour peer Baroness Alicia Kennedy, today claims that homelessness will treble this year “unless the government acts to end the rent debt crisis faced by private renters.”

The group says that there is no protection beyond late August for renters who are in arrears, which it claims have risen from four per cent of tenants before the Coronavirus pandemic to 13 per cent now.

The increase in arrears is despite the government’s increase to Local Housing Allowance to cover 30 per cent of homes.

The group claims evictions of those now in arrears “could make 45,000 households homeless, costing councils an extra £117m in temporary accommodation and other support.”

Although it gives no indication as to how it has reached this figure, it suggests that 592,000 renters are behind on rent payments in England alone and include students, non-UK nationals with no recourse to public funds, and people with savings exceeding £16,000 but who can’t access it, as well as those whose rent is higher than the LHA.

Generation Rent is therefore demanding:

- a new Coronavirus Home Retention Scheme, which would clear rent arrears not covered by the welfare system by guaranteeing landlords’ income up to 80 per cent of the rent;

- the suspension of evictions for rent arrears arising due to the pandemic;

- higher Local Housing Allowances “so that people aren’t left destitute or forced to borrow or run down savings to keep a roof over their head.”

Baroness Kennedy says: “There is a rent debt crisis and renters are at risk of losing their homes. The government has already intervened to stop businesses from going under, and mortgage holders from losing their homes. They need to give the same protections to renters who still face losing their home or going bankrupt as a result of rent arrears. 

She continues: “There are too many holes in the welfare system and our package of measures would ensure no renter faces destitution or becomes homeless due to Covid-19. 

“But with the economy contracting, the government should not be expected to sustain rent levels set when the economy was strong. That’s why we propose that landlords would only be guaranteed up to 80 per cent of their rent.”

  • jeremy clarke

    In my opinion tenants need to know that they need to pay rent to keep the roof over their heads. If you take away the possibility of losing that roof it will lead to two things, firstly, tenants who would normally pay rent will stop and secondly landlords will sell up as soon as possible. Far better to campaign for a repayment method to sustain the tenancy. There is no room for these ultra left wing ideas when private enterprises are involved.

  • Angus Shield

    Without removing democratic freedom of choice, is it not ‘priority’ over ‘choice’.
    I wonder how many arrears situations are the result of simply not prioritising rent over other subscriptions and agreements?
    Can a tenant live in their contract hire car, in a mobile phone, in their gym, under their Sky dish, etc......?
    Why is it that rent can be 'ignored' yet tenants are terrified of stopping their PCH car payments, etc?
    Well it is because Credit Agencies (and utility companies) start to ramp up their threats and overtures of recovery whereas the Landlord (with a Statutory S21!), is at the whim of vague politicians, courts, and now militant lobby groups.
    The one thing we all have in common, Landlords, Tenants, Letting Agent staff, politicians, etc is the homes we live in and the priority we give to maintaining any financial obligation above other choice to keep them.

    I know there are genuine hardship cases and most cases I have been involved with (as Agent over 20+ years) is the tenants come and discuss matters to keep their tenancy. These are the cases that should be bona-fida Local Authority assistance cases maybe even with a recommendation form the Agency who would have met the tenant and assessed needs. I know we are not social workers but no rent at all is not good for anybody.

    I wonder how many ‘can’t pay the rent’ would be willing to provide a full financial disclosure of affordability?

    Barry X

    Agreed and you've made a number of excellent points.

    I'd just like to add - though most of us already know this - the most absurd thing of all in relation to this is the ridiculous "Tenant Fees Act 2019" that by law limits us to only being able to charge 3% over bank base (currently almost zero) in interest for arrears and NO COSTS for enforcement or collection or anything else.

    By contrast credit card companies charge anything they like in interest for customers of theirs who are not even in default! For example they are typically currently charging 25% as a "normal" interest rate - not even a penalty! If you don't pay they can charge a "reasonable" amount for sending you letters to mention that you've missed a payment (we are not allowed to) and they can charge whatever it costs them to pursue you for the debt.

    OBVIOUSLY if you are a tenant with a balance to pay off on your credit card the obvious and sensible thing to do would be to simply default on your rent and use that money to pay off your debt(s)..... there are no real implications or downsides to this, the so-called "Tory" party has made sure of that!

    This means that, outrageously, the vile dishonest government has shafted us all and forced us by law - and without genuine thought, consultation or our consent - to become the cheapest "lenders" on the market and with no ability to charge for anything!!!! This is of course an absolute disgrace!!!! I can't image they'd dare do that to any other business sector..... imagine what would happen if they tried to do that to banks or credit card companies?!!!!!!!

    Not only that, but of course this ludicrous Act is probably the first law in the history of any nation on earth that instead of making something against the law works the other way around and lists the only things you ARE allowed to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It should be against the law to pass such a law.

    Imagine the world changing slightly (as it won't - it will change A LOT and already has since last year), or there being something these idiots hadn't thought of (where do I start....)..... what then? How is this bizare and utterly wrongheading pice of crap supposed to work?

    Well of course they don't care because they don't care about us.... and THAT is why we should all get together and make their lives even more miserable than they've made our! We MUST somehow FORCE THEM TO CARE ABOUT US AND THE PRIVATE RENTAL SECTOR/MARKET.

    Any suggestions? I've made plenty over the last 3 - 4 years and nobody has taken me up on any or suggested anything better.

     
  • icon

    During my working day I specialize in helping LL whose properties are failing to meet the current MEES requirements. Yesterday I met a multiple LL for the first time in his pristine one-bed flat. I had a job to get the conversation round to MEES as he was anxious to tell me (not being aware I am also a LL of course) how frustrating the whole PRS scene is at the moment. He related he has been actively trying to get rid of a non-paying tenant. He had taken her to Court, but she attended in person and as she was heavily pregnant the Judge castigated him for trying to evict her. He continued to rant about the Local Authority who do not take action against LL who are non-compliant when he makes every attempt not to break to the law.

    Baroness Kennedy should be careful what she wishes for. This particular LL told me he is using his rent to pay for his elderly Mother's care home fees. No-one would blame him if he sells up and leaves the PRS once that source of income is no longer required. The Baroness is going to be instrumental in causing a shortage of accommodation for the very people she purports to be 'helping'. The mystery is why she doesn't realise this?

    Barry X

    She's not what I'd call a "real" Baroness, and nor is her husband Ken what I'd call a "real" Baron..... these are just "honours" bestowed on these people (and others) for purely political reasons (certainly not merit as far as I can see) by Edward "Ed" Miliband while he was Labour leader. Of course by stuffing the Lords with such people the result is ruinous and disastrously anti-business legislation like the recent Tenant Fees Act that I mentioned above.

    I hope she doesn't get her wicked way but, given the current (and worsening by the day) climate of lunacy in almost every sphere and aspect of our nation, I expect she will.

     
  • icon

    Maybe we should have her campaign to make eviction in the private mortgage sector banned. We could all buy manor houses and make one payment. I agree above with Angus . Stop the Sky Tv the year old BMW and the holidays abroad and just pay your way. Ditto on the genuine cases but we don’t need these nutters throwing Petrol on a fire most of us usually have under control.

    Barry X

    I think you mean "repossessions"?

     
  • icon

    If the Baroness is so keen to have tenants stay rent free then perhaps she should get the Government to cough up. Most private landlords cannot afford to give freebies as it is often their pension etc. If she gets her way it will force landlords to sell up.... perhaps the Baroness is in the market to buy and then she can provide free accommodation.

    Barry X

    ONE of a number of problems is, as I've posted here before, that IF your tenant has been made a "sitting tenant" by the abolition of normal rights of eviction then the property will plummet in value because it cannot be sold with "full vacant possession".

    As has been shown since the 1970s to date, time after time without fail, in the auction houses (more or less the only place where such blighted properties can be sold, usually only to clever cash buyers) you'll be lucky to get 1/2 the normal price and usually more like only 1/3.

    Think about that!!!!!

    Probably most people will realise its not even worth selling, or doing maintenance (except where required by law) and certainly no "improvements" whatsoever! The tenants will get a very cheap property they can't be kicked out of BUT on the other hand it will become an increasingly sad, dull and miserable place (with no incentive for the LL to put in a modern kitchen or bathroom or anything else) PLUS they will find it virtually impossible to move anywhere because everywhere else will only have similarly blighted properties that are never available.... the reason for that is, of course, that the moment the tenants in any of those properties actually do go (or die and have no near relatives able or willing to take over the blighted property) THEN the property will finally be done up and sold, with huge relief, for a normal price.

    Once understood (which will never happen by the look of it among the brainless fools in Westminster) its easy to see how in the long run this will be a disaster for tenants too - they will lose choice, flexibility and access to well maintained properties landlords are anxious to keep "competitive" to "attract the right people" - because there won't BE any "right" tenants!!!!!

     
  • Robert Ulph

    The government needs to realize that tenants are struggling and Landlords are doing the only thing they can to bring the situation to a close and that is serving notice. If the government could help with a tenant rent retention scheme whereby arrears were paid off by the government direct to the Landlord. It would I am sure halve the amount of potential evictions. My Landlords are not millionaires most of them just have 1 or 2 investments all with mortgages that even if they take the mortgage holiday still needs to be re-paid. This group is going the wrong way about the problem, and attaching Landlords in the pocket is not going to work . AST tenancies are in nature short term. Pushing to banish evictions will be creating millions of Assured tenancies and a mass exit from the market for these Landlords who are propping up the massive shortage in the housing stock currently. Help tenants to pay the arrears off on mass and solve the court issues as they will not be as bad if tenants are actually able to meet their rent demands.

  • JOHN  AHMED

    I concur with a lot of the above comments regarding the absurdity of the campaign and remark from Baroness Alicia Kennedy regarding a ban on "all evictions"
    In my view this is another Labour Party welfare push without thought to landlords, their lenders or poorer parts of the population that could all be further disrupted.
    Private landlords are supplying an absolute need to the growing population of the United Kingdom, a need that the Government and Local councils could not hope to meet, therefore any increase in disruption to the commercial basics of the rental industry will only increase homelessness.
    This will of course perhaps self-consciously increase the work for charities and organisations like Generation Rent and Shelta, who are already working within the poorer areas of society.
    Once again anything to stir up noise without real consultation and thought from organisations that hope to raise their profile and profit from sweeping statements to the press, Generation Rent another name for National Private Tenants Organisation need to think about the whole picture instead of spouting rubbish like a "total ban on all evictions" I normally do not comment, but I am enraged at the absurdity of said campaign and the remarks which will only be damaging to the rental industry and therefore tenants as a whole.

  • David Bennett

    As soon as they are open, let's all book tables at restaurants, have expensive meals with the best wines and when presented with the bill, plead Covid-19 and refuse to pay! Why do tenants think that having had the roof over their head, it is ok not to pay the rent.

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