Tenants who contract the coronavirus or who are forced to self-isolate and therefore cannot work should not have to pay their rent, say leading campaign groups.

Landlords are facing increasing pressure from poverty campaigners and tenants’ groups to offer vulnerable renters who are unable to work after contracting the Coronavirus to be given rent payment holidays.

National tenants’ union Acorn has gone the furthest, calling for landlords to also halt evictions while the pandemic sweeps through the UK, while a leading Scottish tenants’ union has said that tenants should be given rent holidays if landlords are allowed to suspend mortgage payments.

Lettings platform Apropos has called on landlords with mortgages to contact their lenders as soon as possible to negotiate payment holidays “which many of the banks have already agreed for individual borrowers so this may be available for landlords,” says its MD David Alexander.

Several leading lenders have already announced financial support packages for their borrowers including the Halifax, which is offering to temporarily abolish fees for customers who miss their mortgage payments, and mortgage holidays.

Three months holidays

Richard Murphy, a leading poverty campaigner and tax accountant, has called for tenants who contract the virus or who choose to self-isolate to be given a three-month rent holiday.

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“I would suggest that the grant of that extension should be automatic to anyone who does not make a due payment of rent on the required date during the period of the epidemic,” he has said in a blog.

“They should be automatically granted this extension by the landlord without having to make any further application or to complete any additional paperwork.”

The debate about rent holidays is also raging on Twitter. One tweeter, a Northern Ireland lecturer calling herself Elaine Crory, tweeted: “I’m just throwing this out there as a 40 year old renter who supports a family of four on one income; if mortgages can be suspended during Coronavirus, but landlords continue to collect rent (thereby *making money* from this), I WILL RIOT.” Her comment has been ‘liked’ by over 68,600 people so far and retweeted nearly 10,000 times.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. It’s up to the Government to bail renters out , ridiculous sweeping comments by landlord bashers.
    The proposal would ruin me- I rent a home out which is mortgage free and is my only income (unpaid carer for my dad) .
    Very few landlords are rich! It’s a myth.
    If the government pay the tenants rent it prevents pushing the problem further down the line and reduces administration costs.

  2. I’m the same as you Chris Jones. My rental income is my only income. If I gave tenants rent ‘holidays’ I would not be able to pay the bills and would be ruined.

    Why does the government think landlords have a financial contingency plan that big enough to cover tenants’ lack of a plan? Why doe the government think landlords should play the part of banks and give tenants interest free loans?

    Bonkers – pure bonkers!

  3. Corona virus or not, the government has forced us landlords to take full responsibility for homelessness – and to assume natiinwide responsibility for social housing needs.

    In addition to abolishment of no fault evictions, abolishment of mortgages in tax allowances and very limited deposits, they are now proposing No discrimination of DSS recipients, which leaves us with often undesireable layabouts – and even no discrimination against pets.

    All of this proves they have placed landlords as the leaning posts that Councils themselves used to be. We are no longer in free enterprise to run our businesses and to maximize profits. We are pawns for the Councils and providers of homes to the needy whether this was our intention or not .

    The onus to provide permanent homes for everyone and reduce homelessness is now entirely on our shoulders. Renting out privately is no longer a private concern – Councils sold off their many council houses, which they did not wish to maintain, took the money and savings from maintining them – and gradually shifted all responsibility on to us, taxed us to the limits and imposed all their dictatorial regulations.

    I, like many, will be cashing in and bolting at tge first opportunity – or risk being stuck with no hoper tenants who drink, smoke and take the micky rendering their six weeks deposit useless.

  4. I am extremely concerned at this suggestion that renters choosing to self isolate or have the virus should be given 3 months rent holiday. Myself and my husband live in France and have enforced self isolation, we let a single holiday accommodation and have had all our bookings cancelled due to restricted travel/virus, our only other income is our UK rental property. Let’s be realistic, it should be the government bailing people out in this desperate situation, we are not a large bank or mortgage lender. We have a small income on which we live and pay our own bills.

  5. I am renting a home out as a favour to my brothers friend. I now live with a friend as I couldn’t afford the mortgage when my girlfriend moved out. I need to sell the house but it is in negative equity and I lost my job in November and the government wont help me as I was classed as self employed. It is an interest only mortgage which costs more than I am receiving in rent, there is no tenancy agreement. The renter has informed me that he wont be paying “due to the coronavirus”. What can I do?

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