The government has once again refused to consider a financial support scheme for landlords who are suffering financial hardship due to the Covid pandemic.
Lord Greenhalgh made the comments yesterday in parliament, saying the package of indirect help for landlords was sufficient, kicking in the long grass hopes of financial support similar to those offered in Wales and Scotland.
But as we have highlighted in recent weeks and months, some landlords face grave financial problems as they struggle to evict tenants who are using the Covid pandemic as an excuse not to pay their rent, with landlords often ignored by the DWP and their plights deprioritised by the police, social services and courts.
Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Lord Greenhalgh, who is the government’s housing spokesperson in the House of Lords ‘what plans they have to introduce specific financial support for landlords who have lost rent as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic?’.
The answer came that the government is supporting landlords by helping tenants keep their jobs via the ongoing furlough scheme, and that only 7% of tenants had rent arrears.
This claim is based on research within the English Housing Survey’s Household Resilience Study which, he omitted to mention, is nearly six months old or that rent arrears are rising – up from 3% before the pandemic to 7% by the end of July last year.
“This indicates our package of support is working and has prevented widespread arrears,” said Greenhalgh.
“Where landlords find themselves in coronavirus-related hardship, mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to six months, including for buy-to-let mortgages.
“The application window is open until 31 March 2021.The FCA has been clear that for borrowers who have taken six months’ holiday and continue to face ongoing financial difficulties, firms should continue to provide support through tailored forbearance options.”