Shadow housing secretary says the party now supports deferring rent rather than the previous ‘suspension’ promoted under Corbyn.

Labour has called for renters to be given up to two years to pay  back rent arrears built up during the Coronavirus crisis, citing research released last week that up to 1.7 million renters may lose their jobs during the pandemic.

The suggestion is part of a five-point plan to be presented to government to help protect the most vulnerable members of society as the expected post-lockdown recession begins to bite economically.

But the plan has prompted ire among many supporters, who accuse its new leader Keir Starmer of ‘backtracking’ on the party’s position and becoming a ‘landlord’s party’.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for housing Thangam Debbonaire (pictured) said giving tenants more time to pay back rent arrears would be essential to stop an ‘unprecedented and devastating spike’ in homelessness and rough sleeping during the crisis.

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“Current protections for people renting their homes are woefully inadequate,” she says.

“Unless the government acts now, many thousands of tenants will be at risk of losing their homes.”

Labour’s claims of a looming rental market catastrophe are based on a Shelter/YouGov poll published on 16th March among 498 tenants during the last week of March of which one in five said it was ‘likely’ that they could lose their jobs during the crisis.

This has then been used to estimate that 1.68 million renters could lose their jobs and face substantial rent arrears.

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “The government has rightly suspended evictions until June, so no one has to face homelessness in the middle of this pandemic. But millions of renters will be in dire straits further down the line without more government support.”

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Once again all LLs are the devil in disguise and all tenants are angels. Plus…we are not adult enough to make our own arrangements depending on individual circumstances!

    Yes – there are people on both sides who will try to take advantage of the situation but why try to legislate across an entire community instead of protecting the vulnerable on both side?

    I predict a severe shortage of rental properties caused by LLs leaving the market and then an increase in rent caused by the shortage of properties and the increase in LHA!

    Every effort made to ‘solve’ the housing crisis makes it worse for the renters!

  2. As a landlord with 4 rental units and no other income I contacted HMRC to ask them why they had not contacted me as I was under the impression that self employed with a record of Tax returns would get some help. HMRC and my accountant were both clear that there is ZERO help for anyone like me because we are not “Trading” we earn income from investments!!! I have no mortgages etc Therefore any tenant (Encouraged by Labour etc) to entertain “Rent holidays” will in my own circumstance face a permanent holiday in the form of EVICTION
    Anyone presuming I am simply going to smile and walk away from non-paying tenants is living in cloud cuckoo land. As I stated at the outset this is my only source of income. The ONLY alternative would be for me to sell a property to give me money to live on.
    All of those advocating rent holidays etc need to be careful what they wish for.

  3. Thangam Debbonaire is concerned that many thousands of tenants will be at risk of losing their homes – what about many Landlords loosing their houses; their businesses; their livelihoods?
    As a Landlord, I do my utmost to help my tenants get through this pandemic, but who looks after me? Mortgage deferment is not an option for me, and I need the rent to live with and to keep my properties maintained.
    Why does Thangam Debbonaire and Co. think it’s OK to pay back Landlord’s rents over a period of 2 years? Where the hell does she think I’m going to get the money to live with?
    I truly hope that the NRLA and LandlordZone (if possible) opposes in the strongest possible terms!

    • Thanks Daniela – as a lobbying orgnisation I am sure that the NRLA is keen to tackle Labour on its policies as much as it does the current government! And of course LZ is keen to put the spotlight on Labour and other groups such as Shelter and Generation Rent to put their policies through proper scrutiny and let them know what our readers think of them too. So thanks for making your point too. Nigel Lewis, Ed, LZ.

  4. What about the landlords, we can only get a 3 month mortgages holidays this plan will see property being repossessed.
    Therefore the renter losers their home & the landlord loses their pension plan.
    Why are landlords always seen in a bad light we take the risk with these tenants, they stop paying their rent, we loose the property, the rent does’t just cover the mortgage it also has to cover bills to the maintenance company, ground rent, service charges, building insurance & maintenance on the property, landlord safety checks etc.
    Most landlords also have a mortgage on their own homes as well !

  5. Why is it that Landlords are considered part of the a Welfare State?
    I worked hard, invested my money at my own risk and now have a small rental income to support my pension. I still have a mortgage on the property I rent,
    Why on earth should tenants be able to take a rent holiday??? If the a Government want to extend the Welfare State to tenants, fine, they can pay my rent.
    Imagine if mortgage holders asked the government to give them a 2 year mortgage holiday.
    I’m sick of this bias towards tenants. There are good and bad on both sides. I’m not against protection for either party as long as it’s fair to both.
    Anyway, I’m off to the shops for my weekly shop and I’ll be giving them an iou which I’ll pay back over 2 years.

  6. Totally agree with you Stephen Parnell. Will Tesco’s allow us to shop there and give us up to two years to pay for it. Like yourself I rely on the rental income to live off it’s my income. Seems there’s plenty of financial help in regards to tenants what does the government expect the landlords to live off?? ….The private landlord will eventually sell up and invest elsewhere Where there is less stress and sometimes more profitability 🤷🏻‍♂️

  7. There continues to be no help for Landlords. Why doesn’t the Government give loans to the tenants then the Government can collect their debts over 2 years or whatever period they choose. A system similar to student loans? Why should Landlords be left starving when their only form of income apart from the minimal state pension is from rents?

  8. If I have to wait two years to get back owed rent, can I charge interest will the government suspend any tax I owe until the rent is recovered , if the tenant fails to pay or leaves will the government cover my losses . We all know the answer to this. Sorry doesn’t wash, I go out of my way to help and accomadate tenants but if tenants don’t pay they are out on the backsides with no reference , im not a charity , im not a social landlord.

  9. That idiot Polly Neate doesn’t seem to understand that preventing eviction of tenants who refuse to pay their rent for whatever reason just means the LL might be repossessed so the lender will evict the tenant.

    Surely it is better to ensure the LL remains able to service mortgage commitments etc rather than being repossessed!?

    Idiot Neate seems to believe that LL are able to or even willing to subsidise feckless rent defaulting tenants.
    She is deluding herself.

    Tenants should have made provision for meeting their rental payments in the event of income loss.
    LL should not be expected to have to subsidise feckless tenants.

    Something dopey Neate doesn’t even consider.
    Neate is the apotheosis of idiot left wing thinking.
    She consequently has no constructive opinions as hers are based on her mistaken understanding that all LL can survive without rent for months on end.
    Clearly she doesn’t know much about being a LL

    She just spouts continually her mindless drivel which tends to be lapped up by a supplicant Press and Govt.
    It won’t end well for tenants.

  10. Far better to make a fit for purpose benefit system that covers market rent for those on low income or unemployed. It shouldn’t be for LL to take the hit, we are not all Duke of Marlborough!

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