A government spokesman in the Lords has quietly conceded that ministers will use powers being given to them within the Coronavirus Bill to protect tenants from payment chasing after the pandemic dies down.

The government has confirmed that it will consider extending the evictions ban if landlords begin chasing tenants for back-dated rent after the Coronavirus crisis is over.

Government spokesman Lord Bethell told peers that the Coronavirus Bill going through parliament at the moment gave the government room to manoeuvre on this point.

“We have the power to extend both the three-month notice period and the date these powers will end, and we are clear that we will use these powers if necessary,” he said.

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His comments followed calls from Labour peer Lord Adonis earlier on in the debate.

“My understanding is that while Schedule 29 [of the bill] meets the concerns of people who may potentially be evicted by preventing actual evictions during the period of the coronavirus crisis, it does not prevent evictions or action being taken against tenants afterwards in respect of the non-payment of rent while the crisis is proceeding,” he said.

“That simply does not seem reasonable to me if our aim is to offer security and decent support for people because of the crisis.

“We need to see to it that not only are they not evicted, but that they are not waiting until the day after the crisis ends to be evicted because they have not been able to pay the rent in the interim.”

Another Labour peer, Baroness Thornton, said she was extremely concerned that landlords would chase tenants for back-dated rent after the crisis, helping increase their financial problems.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. What about the landlords who rely on their rental income to live? I have three flats that I let and that is my sole income. Two of my tenants are paying half of their rent and I have no way of knowing when that will end. Is the government now saying that at the end of this crises, if I’m left in the situation where I will have to sell one of my properties because I have no money to pay my bills, I am unable to do so because I will theoretically have a sitting tenant. Where is the help for people in my situation. Will we get some kind of tax relief? I don’t think so!

    • And heading off one potential reply – because of your assets you won’t qualify for any benefits even if you end up with zero income. Having been made redundant a few years ago, I was on benefits for short time – but you don’t get contribution based for long, and because of our “pension” had too much in assets to qualify for anything else. You can’t eat bricks and mortar, and there’d be an outcry if any other sector was told they had to cash in their pension and spend the money before they’d get any help.
      I am fortunate in not being solely reliant on rent for income, and at the moment it looks like both tenants are reasonably secure in their income. But I can see that some landlords like yourself will be really stuck without this income, and many more will struggle – I hope you make it through the other side in some semblance of “OK”.

  2. I only have one rental property and a widow’s pension to live on. My tenant has stopped paying rent.
    So I cannot recover any rent owed when this health crisis is over, even though the tenant may get financial support ? Thanks whoever had that idea, please try living in the real world for a while.

  3. I think this new ban will encourage more tenants to stop paying their rents even they have the means. We, as landlords, have financial burdens too – mouths to feed, bills to pay, mortgages to pay. Could the government kindly think of us too?

  4. Yet more Landlord bashing from the Government. Rental income is my main source of income which is constantly being eroded by changes in legislation and now the Government has given tenants a licence to stop paying rent without fear of recrimination. If they want to underwrite that then fine, if not then they could find themselves in a massive group lawsuit. A big law firm would take this on without doubt.

  5. @Richard Cooper,

    I’m not sure what you mean.
    Are you saying landlords could sue the government?
    In theory yes, judicial review etc. But the government could just change the law to whatever it wants.

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