Please Note: This Article is 2 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

One of the UK’s largest tenants’ unions, which is behind the petition, has written to Boris Johnson calling for all rent payments to cease in order to protect tenants during the crisis.

Unsympathetic landlords are putting pressure on renters to take unnecessary risks by going to work during the crisis, according to campaign group the London Renters Union.

It’s calling on the government to suspend all rent payments – and to protect people from having to pay big arrears when the pandemic has eased.

The group has gathered more than 102,000 signatures on an online petition urging Boris Johnson to protect renters and has written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick calling on him to suspend all rent payments, make the evictions ban permanent, introduce rent controls, and give councils the power to repossess empty homes.

The letter from organiser Amina Gichinga warns that the UK faces a rent debt and evictions crisis.

Leave the house

She says: “Because of the pressure to continue to pay rent, many thousands of people are forced to leave the house to work. Despite the Government giving mortgage holidays to landlords and urging ‘compassion’ many agents and landlords are still telling renters that rent is due in full and that we will be evicted if we don’t comply.”

The union believes renters should be freed from having to make any rent payments during the Coronavirus pandemic and that they should be protected from falling into debt.

She adds: “Legislation should be introduced that suspends rent payments for the duration of the emergency and waives rent debt…and Section 8 eviction notices should be suspended for the next 12 months.

“Such measures would significantly increase the ability of renters to follow government health advice to stay at home and would help prevent a rent debt and evictions crisis.”

It has set up the hashtag #suspendrent on Twitter to gather support.

Please Note: This Article is 2 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


  1. While Landlords should provide some flexibility during this period tenants have a variety of assistance to call on if they are Furloughed, made redundant or have to stay at home for the various reasons the government have laid out.

    • Landlords need to survive as well, if we lose income and cannot pay mortgages, properties will have to be sold, therefore tenants will end up homeless. We are not all large rental companies. The 3 month mortgage holiday is not three months taken off the amount owed it still has to be paid at the end of the day.

  2. Free food for all! Supermarkets are putting pressure on people to take unnecessary risks by going to work during the crisis so they can afford to eat. And free WiFi too!

    • Andrew – free WiFi was an election pledge by Labour so you’re not too far off the mark.

      I wonder who will house all these people in the short term when their houses are repossessed by lenders?

    • Great comment Andrew. What about council tax, water, gas, electricity. Tenants should all get it for free. Actually, why don’t they force the landlords to pay 10% of their net income into a special account so all tenants can order free takeaways and popcorn and what free Netflix every night. Jokes on a side, we are living in strange times and as landlords we have a duty to help out our tenants when and if we can but what the London rented union is asking for is ridiculous. Hopefully, we will get back to normality sometimes soon.

  3. Some landlords have bought property to rent, to provide themselves with a pension.
    How are they then supposed to get by?

  4. How about every single landlord evict every single tenant for the next month. Then let’s see who begs to pay rent and have a roof over their head. This is just ridiculous. Just want everything handed to them on a silver platter. No rent, 80% from the government blah blah.

  5. Seriously – if all LLs lose a quarter of their rental income the knock on effect will be that there is less money to invest in more housing (or improvements in existing housing), therefore preventing other families looking for homes from finding one. So these tenants are not just greedy they are selfish – putting their needs above everyone else’s.

    The rental market will only work when it is fair to LLs and tenants and cancelling all rents, regardless of need, is not fair to anyone.

  6. Yet again the few wanting freebies do they not understand landlords are suffering too many rely on the rent as income. We had a property go empty days before lockdown we cannot do repairs nor can anyone view etc etc and yet we have to pay council tax etc. So now they want to repossess empty property. Get real Most people can get universal credit. So can pay rent. All these people want is free money of the backs of landlords etc. There are always the few who will try it on.

  7. Free cash and food for all, nothing to pay for everyone until the coronavirus is gone, no prices going up thereafter, set price controls on trains and buses.
    All university student loans to be written off.

  8. This is totally and utterly outrageous. Let alone the fact that many will struggle with getting this supposed mortgage payment ‘holiday’ it still has to be repaid, the mortgage is not waived. If renters want to live somewhere, they must pay for it. There is effectively no relief whatsoever for landlords, how can they be expected to absorb the cost of all of this/ risk bankrupting themselves to cover a cosy free rent period for tenants?!

  9. I am a landlord. This happened because I moved house and couldn’t sell the old one. I still have a mortgage on it. I cannot waive my tenant’s rent because even if my mortgage company gives me a mortgage holiday, my own mortgage arrears are still adding up and are due when the crisis is over. I think the request to essentially provide a free house is unrealistic.

  10. Why not make very thing free for everybody to 3 months! This proposal is nuts. Many landlords rely on rent as their pension income. Yes let’s act responsibly but deal with tenant fairly on a one by one basis, perhaps splitting/ proportioning the rent to income if tenant cannot work or is on reduced pay

  11. Why limit it to just free food and WiFi. Free everything for all..!
    Let the people run the country by committee and open up a few gulags in the middle of the countryside for the naughty people who take 2 tins of beans when they only need one.

  12. I am a pensioner and have 3 houses that I rent, they are all on mortgages, this is my job and if my tenants stop paying their rent how do I survive as there is no help out there for me!!! I will end up loosing my houses and I am a very good landlord how is this going to help anybody???

  13. How will landlords pay their bills without rental income? Do they have to shoulder all the ensuing debt? What about a council tax suspension?

  14. yes all taxes and bills of all kinds including mortgages and credit card balances should be waived in full during the crisis. of course people will always sign up for free money. They don’t ask where is the money going to come from to pay for it all? The system that makes the world go round is based on the fact that in the end sooner or later everything has to be paid for.

  15. Have these tenants thought that to some landlords their rent is the income of their landlord. They need this to buy food! Some landlords are retired and the rent is their pension. All landlords are not just raking it in living lavish lifestyles. Some landlords if running a rental alongside their job have also lost their wage for one reason or another.

    So please renters appreciate that landlords are in the same position as you. And also without landlords there would be a lot more people living on the street. This could force landlords to sell up then where would you live, the council only has so many properties.

    Regarding banning evictions for 12 months, I agree if the tenants are good tenants, but are you saying drug dealing, sub letting, violent tenants can’t be evicted either?

    From a Landlord who has a shielding husband that isn’t getting paid for 12 weeks. Who is paying my bills?…

  16. When will the Government, Shelter and other organisations who have no in-depth knowledge of the Private Rented Sector, realise that for every Landlord that leaves the sector a minimum of one person or family losses a home? Other key factors: –
    • PRS represents 20% of the population, they are a business, not a charity!
    • If the Council or Social cannot house the people who are made homeless, rents will rise, choice will reduce and more people will be homeless, having to stay in B&B, Hotels etc, costing the country more money.
    • If will be the honest and good Landlords that will go to the wall, caused by; rent holidays, no rents, section 21 etc.
    • The Tenants that cause the problem are usually the rouge tenants who do not deserve to be housed.
    • As of 5th April, many Landlords will realise that the Government Tax regulations will prove that PRS is now no longer viable and leave the sector.
    • Building new houses has stopped and will take many months to get back to full production, when they do it will be the houses for the private buyer which are finished the earliest.
    • To rebuild the UK economy will require foreign workers, with reduction in available places to rent where are they going to live?
    • During this latest crisis, Coronavirus, more Landlords have been put under financial pressure than ever before and after the last five years of Government onslaught of Taxes, regulations, rent holidays etc. More will go to the wall.
    • In three months, there will be a deluge of Section 21’s and Section 8’s, 2 to 3 months after reality of the homeless will materialise!
    • The Government’s generous concessions for those furloughed 80% of their wages paid, Universal Credit payments, also the self-employed, meaning that nearly all Tenants will be a position to pay rent, even if reduced. If a Tenant, then refuses to any pay the rent these benefits withdrawn and future Landlords informed of their indiscretions!
    • In addition to the Courts listening to section 21 and 8 applications there will be an equal number of Small Claims Court applications for back rent, damage etc from those rouge tenants.
    • Measures to highlight rouge Landlords are not working, they only effect the good Landlords, if there is going to be a Rouge Landlord register there should be a Rouge Tenant Register.
    • Any Tenant who deliberately and fraudulently refuse to pay rent should have their Credit Score effected.
    • With Universities closing and Students returning home not for filling the contracted rental, where will the next year intake live as these Landlords will no longer be there!
    • If anyone walked into Tesco’s and took several hundreds of pounds of goods without paying it would be theft! Not paying rent is theft!
    • All good Landlords will sit down and discuss with a Tenant payment plans.
    • No Landlord will ever evict a good Tenant without good reason.
    • Being a Landlord is a Business not a Charity and should be treated the same as any other business in the UK, this includes taxation! No return on investment leave the sector!
    If the above is indisputable, it follows that the UK public need a health Private Rental sector, therefore Government, Shelter and other Landlord bashing organisations should sit down with the Landlords and find a way forward to support, incentives and improve the Sector! Failure to do will result in misery for many!

  17. Most Landlords are not unsympathetic but for many Landlords this Rent is their Only Income. Who then pays them the suspended / cancelled Rent to keep them from losing their homes and livelihoods??
    Yes some tenants are having difficulties, but so are some Landlords. An outright suspension of all rents is unrealistic and unworkable- both tenants and landlords have to work together to help each other through this crisis, as if the landlords go bust through not receiving rent, the tenants will have nowhere to live then either !

  18. Ok, but if the ‘Government’ does decree that tenants no longer need to pay rent, then the ‘Government’ must also step in and compensate all landlords with at least 80% of the rent they were receiving.

    The person called Amina Gichinga says landlords will be evicting tenants, is of course talking rubbish. What landlord in their right mind is going to evict a tenant during this chinavirus crisis? There are no courts, there are no bailiffs and even if the tenant did leave, where would the landlord find another reliable working tenant!?

  19. Tenants wanting rent debt written off is crazy landlords won’t have mortgage debt written off. Workers furloughed on 80% could take advantage and this will ruin small time landlords who provide a good service

  20. Andrews, great idea!

    Also, I want no council tax on any of my properties. No tax on my rental income for 12 months. No service charge and ground rent due for 12 months on leaseholds – shall we start a petition to force management companies to waive ground rents and svc charges? And no “holiday” or “delay” for these or mortgages, it is fair we get the same as the tenants right? So no payment if arreas after the crisis is over.

  21. And how do they think that Landlords who rely on the rent to put food on the table will survive? Oh, wait a minute, did you say that there was free food for all?

  22. Who are these nut cases! ‘waive rent debt??’ what are tenants going to do with all the cash they receive from all the coronavirus measure that have been introduced? Job retention, self employment help, enhanced universal credit etc etc. No doubt it will spend on buying unnecessary crap e.g. latest i phones, flat screen curved tv’s, as this is obviously more important then putting a roof on their heads!!!

  23. How ridiculous. More trying it on behaviour, at the Landlord’s expense.

    How about free taxi rides so we don’t have to risk using transport.
    Free utility bills/council tax so we don’t need to risk going to work.
    Free booze delivered so we don’t have to risk going out.
    The list goes on.

    Hopefully the government will have the sense to see through it.

  24. How ridiculous. More trying it on behaviour, at the Landlord’s expense.

    How about free taxi rides so we don’t have to risk using transport.
    Free utility bills/council tax so we don’t need to risk going to work.
    Free booze delivered so we don’t have to risk going out.
    The list goes on.

    Hopefully the government will have the sense to see through this.

  25. These people really are living in a little world of their own. Most landlords have a mortgage on the property they rent out, if they don’t get rent they won’t be able to continue paying the mortgage – eventually the bank will repossess the property making the tenant homeless. A bit like demanding free food from the local shop – eventually the shop would go bankrupt and have to close, and you wouldn’t be able to shop there at all.

    There is plenty of help from the government at the moment so that tenants are able to continue paying all or at least most of their rent.

    It would be lovely to live in a world where everything is given to us for free but unfortunately we don’t. So my message to these people – grow the hell up!

  26. 1. There does not need to be a cover all suspension of rent for tenants. Tenants on UC will still receive income, tenants who are state pensioners will still receive income, those who are furloughed will still receive income. Some key workers are still in FT employment.

    2. Mortgage holidays for up to 3 months. These are given by banks and mortgage companies on application by the property owner or landlord. Interest will still be charged during the period of non payment. As soon as the holiday period ends the mortgage payment will be recalculated with a higher payment being due each month.

    3. There will be some people who will have a much reduced income, newly self employed for example, who will need to apply for UC. Those who do not get full Pay while off sick or in isolation.
    People in genuine need due to a drop in weekly or monthly income are the tenants that require support during this pandemic crises.

  27. I’m sure all Landlords have been sensitive to tenants if they have no income or help if it’s genuine. The tenant needs to prove they have no income in the form of bank statements etc to the landlord then their rent can be deferred.

    Otherwise tenants will end up gaining and Landlords going out of business. We are not cash cows. Some of us have done an amazing job for years helping many tenants in their difficult times. It makes me very sad how we are tarred under the same brush has a minority of bad landlords. It’s getting almost like a prejudice situation to landlords.

    We are no different than any other business we should not be treated differently. The government have given business a 80 percent payment to employees to help to businesses survive this terrible crisis which will keep the business a float.

    They have provided deferred loans to landlords if it’s needed if tenants can’t pay their rent. Which is I’m sure every landlord in our country will pass on to tenants if required by the tenant if they are not getting and incoming money. If tenants can’t work because they are vulnerable they can claim universal credit if they can’t afford to pay the rent and eat on this this is where the landlord helps the tenant. When the crisis is over an agreed payment plan will be put in place. No landlord wants to take on this extra debt from the bank but they will have no choice if tenants don’t have enough money it’s common sense. It’s not a gift it’s burden but we are in a crisis.
    What is proposed by this group is prejudice to Landlords and should be ignored by parliament until it is wrote in a none prejudice way. Prejudice is not just colour and race but can clearly be aimed at a business to gain and take advantage of a situation in a difficult time for everyone.

    We shouldn’t be looking at putting anyone out of business let alone the person who puts the roof over your head. This is what they are proposing and it is shear madness and looks like people are trying to profiteer in these difficult times. It’s like saying allow looting!!
    We are in this together and need to work together to get through this in one piece at the other end.

    We have been a Landlord for over 30 years and helped many tenants move into their own homes of which we are proud of our ethical ethos. Landlords are not bad people it’s time we were stopped being treated differently and picked on before you loose us all with madness like this.

  28. As a landlord, if tenants stopped paying rent I would have a rising mortgage debt despite a mortgage holiday offer which is merely a payment deferral scheme. I also have continued maintenance costs. It is too easy to portray landlords as debt free profiteers. Landlords take a big risk in letting their properties. I have had a number of tenants in the past, long before the recent coronavirus outbreak, who have caused damage and left owing rent and there is little a landlords can do to protect themselves, as the cost of litigation is prolonged expensive and often ineffectual in recouping losses.

  29. I agree with the first comment, do the renters not understand that we have mortgages to pay and for the small landlord (I only have the one property) a mortgage ‘holiday’ is not automatic, it has to be applied for and justified. Do they not understand that if we cannot pay the mortgage for the whole duration of the pandemic (not just 3 months) that we would then be forced to sell the property rather than have it repossessed and therefore there would be a shortage of decent properties in the future to rent! I have a mortgage on my main home, if i cannot pay that do you think the banks will say ‘oh don’t worry you can have a mortgage holiday for the whole duration and you will not be in debt and we will not repossess?!’ yep i doubt that home owners would be afforded the same rights as renters. We all have either mortgages or rents to pay and bills too, most of us are accidental landlords with a very small income from the property just trying to keep our heads above water, we are all in the same boat so i do not agree with the petition. Yes i agree to be flexible but the petition does not take into account any of the above. If any of this came into force, then i can gaurantee that there would be many renters who would not use the powers fairly the same as there are some unscrupulous landlords taking advantage at the moment

  30. 45% of landlords have just one rental property.
    38% own between two and four properties.
    59% of landlords are aged 55 years or older.
    33% of landlords are retired.
    40% of landlords are female.
    94% of landlords rent property as an individual
    4% as part of a company. 2% as part of some other organisation.

    According to the report landlords, on average, report a gross rental income of £15,000 per year (before tax and other deductions).
    The idea that there are thousands of “Billionaire” Residential Landlords is just fake news. Snowflake generation need to get real. Next they will say that “Work” is an outdated 20th century concept and also needs to be banned! I’m Self made, no bank of mum and dad,as a kid I picked fruit, delivered papers and groceries, I left school age 15, got a job and a bedsit and got on with making my way in life. Most of these snowflakes don’t see any form of work or responsibility until they are in their 20’s

  31. OK then, I’m a landlord who is going to ask my council to suspend my council tax and not ask for the debt to be paid. I want Tescos to give me free food. I want all my gas & electric bills paid too. Then perhaps I can give my tenant free rent.

  32. Why not suspend Council Tax and energy payments for everyone too and how about free food and clothing! I wonder why these individuals think that landlords, many of whom have made a substantial investment, should be singled out for such unfair treatment.

    I note that the Renters Union have a red flag. I think that says it all.

  33. If rents are ceased, mortgages, service charges and all associated costs should also be ceased. On the contrary, landlords won’t be able to meet their obligations unless their properties are owned outright!

  34. How about free gas, electric, council tax, water, tv phone and broadband, oh and dont forget about the all important free insurance. Free licenses, free gas safety inspections, free repairs for damage caused by tenants. Hello why not give them free TVs and play stations while we’re at it.

  35. Wow, I have NEVER read so many uninformed posts, so many people showing how uneducated they actually are! Obviously, you have to comb through to UK related ones.

    Crazy, if we personally accrue more debt, we’ll pull out! Sell up and sadly Tenants will then become the responsibility of local council, and we do care, it’s why we we have helped before any of this, er, hit the twitter feeds.

    And yet,again, blame the Landlord’s, stick them with increased debt and remove all tenants rental commitments, even though the vast majority of tenants will have much quicker access to help, but s0d the Landlord’s, tenants want it all and even more…

    Exactly Mr Morgan, free food for everyone, this; just one example of how its not all about not wanting to pay rent.

    What a self centered, selfish, narcissistic and blinkered world we live in!

    So many naive, blissfully unaware people, all purporting to have a much worse life, all because of the rent forced upon them by the Landlord devil’s, what a farce and joke.

    Funny, we have an average 3 bed house in a typical street, we saved for many a year for the mortgage deposit, then we became accidental Landlord’s, now, our Mortgage is 29.6% of all our income (38.88% when including BTL), these figures includes rental income: therfore it’s all the banks fault, yet again ;-D

    In a crazy world gone worse – people aren’t always after pointing the blame!

  36. While we at it….we need
    1. Free WiFi, Free Water/sewage, Free electric, Free Gas – suspend all payments to utility companies…
    2. Free Council Tax….suspend all payment to council tax
    3. Free Transport….suspend all payment to Taxis, Buses and Train tickets….
    4. Free Cars for those who need it…..we should be allowed to drive away any car we like from all the main car dealers….
    5. Exclude the landlord from all this priviledges….
    6. Landlord need to pay tenants a monthly allowance …..

  37. What pony! The Government has no right to intervene in the landlord tenant legal contract in terms of rent payment. What else do tenants union want free of charge? Water gas electric Sky, Broad band. Likewise the Government cannot interfere in those contracts!

  38. All these organisations campaigning for tenants rights along with the government are doing their best to demonise all the landlords .
    With new legislations , unfair taxation & tough laws are making the small army of landlords leaving the market in droves .
    I agree there are unscrupulous landlords out there but believe me there are also some extremely manipulative tenants .if tenants decide to default , it takes months to resolve the issue , this resulting in landlord losing thousands of pounds in lost rent .

  39. Not got a clue, have they. This is what benefits is for and Universal credit is for. If u not earning enough, Universal credit says We will help u pay your rent. All these movements do is make it harder for renters next time.
    Let’s have a free boiler too.
    And free licensing fees.
    And no tax.
    Any repairs we can t pay cause no rent coming in.

  40. But what about landlords that don’t have mortgages (because they worked hard to pay them off), who aren’t eligible for any benefits (because they own property) and who rely on the rent money to pay their own food and utility bills? Most of them are over 70 and are supplementing their meager state pensions. How are they supposed to survive the crisis if their tenants are allowed not to pay the rent? It’s not a one size fits all situation and not all landlords are money grabbing heartless individuals.

  41. This it’s wrong crying from tenants
    What about us landlords?
    The government should help us too
    Pay the rent value of every property
    My tenant she own me money from previous months that she stopped payments
    Gave her 2 months notice that expired on the 15 March I need her out
    I’m lost I don’t know what to do
    Please I need help
    Can someone advise me or have any other ideas



    I now have an empty property as my tenant left 2 weeks ago just before the movement embargo. So, no new tenants for the forseeable future.

    Yet my local Council still expects me to pay 100% Council Tax and my Landlord Insurances are becoming due. Plus I will have to pay Water, Electric and Gas standing charges.

    Landlords are not considered to be self-employed or employees so no help is coming from the Government. Indeed, from 6 April new tax laws come into play which will shaft us non-corporate landlords even more.

    My state pension isn’t going to cover all this. Where is the help for people like me?

  43. Why should rents be suspended? Surely if you work from home you are getting paid, you are not going out so you are able to save money. While calling for rents to be suspended please also call for telephone bills to be suspended, TV licence to be suspended, petrol stations to provide free petrol/diesel, utility companies to stop charging for water, gas, electricity, the list can go on. Rent is rent, do renters expect to live free? Landlords are landlords because this is the business they chose, if tenants do not want to live in private rented accommodation then ask the local council to provide them with a property, write to Boris and ask him to get the ball rolling. Oh and BTW if working from home in private rented accommodation this means the property is now being used for business purposes, I wonder if that covered in the rental agreement.

  44. Why? If the government is helping the renters with 80% salary or universal credit help then why should they be allowed to suspend their rent? I have tenants who’s rent includes all bills. So who will pay the bills? The landlords are already struggling with tenants not paying rent or reducing their rent… even though tenants are still getting paid or getting 80% of their salary! It’s outrageous anyone can think this is fair on the landlord. We still have to pay mortgages, insurances, safety checks, bills. So why should a tenant stay for free. ?

  45. For some Landlords rental income is their sole income so what do they do? The 3 month mortgage holiday does not mean mortgages don’t have to be paid this will be added onto the end of the mortgage period. People who have been furloughed will get 80% of wages what will landlords get? Other tenants get housing benefit so why should they not pay their rent? I am a small landlord and if I lost my rental income for months my properties would have to be sold as I could not make up for the loss of income.

  46. Easy to see why it’s popular but pretty nigh impossible to see how it could work even if you thought it should.
    • It’s flatly contrary to the clear published government position, which is that contracts remain in force and rents should be paid as normal unless completely impossible.
    • It would completely sabotage the build-to-rent movement, which this government supports as a significant part of the answer to the housing shortage.
    • It would hugely damage the SIPP system where tens of thousands of people have property included in their pension arrangements.
    • It would hand massive unsought bonuses to quite a large group of renters who don’t need support because they are still in reasonably paid work and quite capable of continuing to pay their rent, and also to the probably quite large numbers among those moving on to the incoming 80% furlough.
    • It would instantly pauperise many older landlords who depend entirely on rents for their pensions.
    • It would make it impossible for many landlords to do major repairs and legally-compulsory health and safety work including gas and electrical checks and certifications
    • And that’s not all …………

  47. Im thinking of selling all my buy to lets and moving to Cyprus to retire. ive had enough of it good luck to the tenants finding other properties.


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