A Tory member has used the Conservative Home website to tell his party that it should introduce interest-free loans to help tenants pay off their arrears.
Chris Town - a party member and former vice-chair of the Residential Landlords Association - says the Conservative government’s eviction ban has produced victims in the shape of landlords being unable to take action against tenants committing anti-social behaviour or those involved in domestic violence or those with arrears accumulated before the pandemic.
“It is six months in which landlords have been unable to reclaim possession of their own home where they have rented it out whilst working elsewhere such as those in the military or diplomatic service” he adds.
Town believes some landlords could lose as much as £20,000 when arrears and the length of time to go through the court process are added together.
“It is completely unacceptable to expect landlords to undertake the responsibility of the state to subsidise those who are struggling to pay their rent. I might expect Labour to have no sympathy for landlords, but I would hope that a Conservative government would show some understanding that most landlords are not wealthy, and cannot afford to forgo rent for long periods of time” he writes on the website.
He insists that the best protection for renters with genuine Covid-related arrears, and for landlords, is to enable the tenants to pay off their rent arrears.
“This should be done through interest-free, government-guaranteed hardship loans for tenants in England to cover Covid-related arrears. The money would be paid directly to the landlord, and the immediate future of their tenancy secured” Town advocates.
He says that such a scheme would then allow the government to give a cast-iron guarantee that the eviction ban wouldn’t be extended again beyond its current expiry date of September 20.
“This would be a good incentive to ensure that they had done all they could to work with the tenant to find a solution, which is what the large majority of landlords have been doing. They deserve some recognition for this and some support where it is needed” concludes Town.
Perhaps surprisingly for a Conservative website, at the time of writing this article over half the comments beneath Town’s piece appear to be critical of landlords.