Acorn says it has 38,200 signatures to support its campaign to prevent rent rises once the pandemic has subsided.

Community and tenants’ union Acorn wants the Government to stop landlords charging higher rents after the Coronavirus crisis in order to recoup lost income.

It says thousands of renters will be out of pocket for weeks or even months as they try to pay back arrears through payment plans once the crisis has abated.

Instead, the three-month payment holiday for buy-to-let mortgage holders should go together with a rent suspension with no expectation for that rent to be repaid.

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It adds that many renters will simply have to keep working to avoid spiralling rent arrears debt, exposing themselves and others to unnecessary risk, while landlords will have the asset of a house when they pay off their mortgage. 

Acorn’s campaign on change.org to protect renters has already got more than 38,200 signatures of its 50,000 target.

Aidan Cassidy, Bristol organiser for Acorn, says a crisis could occur once the temporary eviction ban lifts, when landlords seek to collect unpaid rent for the pandemic period – but many renters will have lost their incomes in part or entirely.

“There needs to be no expectation of rent to be paid at the end. What we need is a rent freeze” says Cassidy. “Otherwise we’ll find ourselves in a debt crisis.”

John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association, says it agrees with the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who told the House of Commons that the Government  should ‘ensure that rents are paid, not merely that payments are suspended for this period.’

“Tenants affected should look at the comprehensive package of measures the Chancellor has announced to support the incomes of those in employment and those claiming benefits,” he tells LandlordZONE.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Why should LLs bear the cost of unpaid rent? Many tenants will qualify for Govt help but nothing is being offered to LLs except a mortgage payment holiday – no help if you don’t have a mortgage and rely on the income to live.

    LLs and tenants need to work together through this crisis and well intentioned housing activists should consider the effect on the people very people they represent if at the end of this crisis huge numbers of LLs sell up and leave tenants homeless.

    • I agree. Why should LL effectively pay for tenants to live free when they are facing their own financial hardships. These people are just looking for an excuse to pass on their problem to someone else. Do these tenants think they could go into Tesco and ask for free groceries?

      • Paul.
        Yes I believe some of the people believe they should be entitled to free groceries. I am not being sorcastic however I have noticed the UK is a bit anti-landlord and renters will take advantage of that.

    • I totally agree people need to realise that the rent will not be written off but tenants need to talk to ll and come up with a plan. The mortgage cos are only giving a break they are not writing off 3 months mortgage payments. Most ll have mortgages and they are still ultimately responsible for the debt. Ofcourse worst case scenario is mortgage co could re posses house if landlord cant resolve issue if tenants refuse to pay and tenants would end up homeless. So be reasonable and work together.

  2. The problem for the tenant is that these kind of government schemes (80% of wages paid, etc) don’t always work out as planned. From my own experience these kind of schemes involve a huge amount of bureaucracy and documents to claim. Lots of hoops to jump through and boxes to tick.

    I wouldn’t blame any tenants for being cautious and holding onto as much cash as possible, before paying rent out. As an equity investor, I expect the company directors to prioritise company survival and that means cutting dividends. Same with rent, sometimes it’s about priorities.

    • Will be interesting to see what happens once the dust settles.
      I think so far the government still has the support and goodwill of the majority of the public.
      I think this payment of rent issue will be a can that is kicked down the road a few times. I don’t think the government will come out directly and give tenants a free ride, but I don’t think they’ll allow landlords to evict either. The government will just keep telling tenants they should pay, but not actually allow landlords to do anything apart from file documents with the courts etc. Realistically the courts are shut to landlords anyway.

      The government will fudge the issue and play for time. 90 days will be followed by an extension, then another extension, etc.

    • Exactly what I have said, as a landlord I can apply for a payment holiday on my BTL mortgage but the missed payments add to the mortgage balance and ultimately increase the BTL mortgage payment. Same applies to my mortgage on my home, so I am in same boat as everybody else in the country but I don’t have rent to worry about paying, I have two mortgages instead. If the tenant isn’t going to make up missed payments and I am prevented from increasing rent and I fall behind on my family home mortgage, once we are out of the eviction period I will be forced to give our tenants notice, sell the property and sort my finances out. Before this I fully intended renting property for another 10 years but will have to keep my options over if landlords are screwed over yet again.

      • @John Pye,

        You don’t have to evict your tenants. You can sell your property with the tenants in situ.
        Someone will buy it if the price is low enough to reflect the investment risk.

        • For example:
          If the market rent on a house is £5k a year.
          The house sells for £25k.
          That represents a theoretical gross yield of 20% a year.
          Now that sounds like a high yield and a low sales price.
          But you need to compare this to some other investments yielding 15% net at present.

          If I can buy tobacco or oil stocks at a 10% totally passive yield, then why buy an active investment yielding less than that?

  3. Yes, everyone needs to think of their personal circumstances but if you are able to forgo or reduce rent for tenants who are struggling we should be doing this. That’s what is meant by ‘We’re all on this together’. I’ve contacted my tenants and told them to let me know if they are concerned about paying their rent.

  4. Landlords will still have to make up for the mortgage holiday so why should tenants be let off with their rent? yes if one of my tenants is struggling I would hope we could work something out between us. But they must understand I am not an extension to the treasuries coffers. I have my own bills to pay and family to keep and I should not be expected to beggar myself and lose everything I have worked hard to build. For most of my life I have never earned more than £18K per year but save damn hard to get what is not a lot of income now. even with my rental properties I still to not get anywhere near the average wage.

    • Paul I agree.
      I have only lived in the UK for two years but I have noticed people believe, if you are a landlord then you are rich, therefore you can afford to allow a tenant to stay, for awhile, without paying rent. Absolutely ridiculous.

  5. I have a tenant who is consistently late with payments despite arranging a payment plan with her, ,I can see her using this crisis as an excuse for not paying her rent and never being able to pay the arrears.She is in receipt of Universal Credit.

  6. Most landlords will work with their tenants through this difficult time. We cannot just fund the tenants new iPhone as we go bankrupt ourselves! Perhaps these activist should put their hand in their own pockets to fund tenants! One of my tenants spent his housing benefit on a holiday to Spain and never paid his rent, left me with eviction costs and lots of repairs, had to sell up, one less home available for renters now.

    • It will be interesting to see what effect the virus issues have on groups such as Acorn. The whole Extinction Rebellion agenda is now old news. These enthusiastic activists need a new focus and this could be it. They may attract new supporters, who would previously have been busy at work.

      These young activists tend to be very social media proficient. They could do well during the lockdown. #coronarentstrike, clap for renters, red acorn in the window, etc

  7. The Govt. should have paid the rent direct for the tenants in difficulty that would’ve solved more than one issue.

  8. Here we go again, yet more landlord bashing; as we are all swimming in vast amounts of monies that we can give everything away for free, some people will always be moronic, fact!!

    Do these campaigners know the facts?

    If the landlord wanted/needed to take up the 3 month break – do they not have to prove the Tenant is in self isolation? Yet, if said Tennant is in self isolation and not as a per Government’s stay in message – then they can apply for all what’s been banded around so much and covered on the likes of TV, Radio and everywhere in the Internet, as much more (direct) help is available, so, they have no excuse not knowing what’s available to them!

    Yet, the landlord still gets charged.

    Like in my case: daily interest, if unpaid, then there soon will be interest on the interest, so who then is going to pay this and help us then? Particularly as I make little profit, and fell into this accidentally, of which, I cannot wait to get out of, so many whinging ungrateful moaners around!

    Plus, why is it that so many tenants expect not to pay rent and leave crippling bills at the Landlord’s door as soon as there’s problems?

    Many come across as the Millennial type, with their sense of entitlement and doting narcissism, where everything should be firmly put at their door; for little effort at all, just makes me sick!

  9. Landlords are not getting 3 months off their mortgage, they will still have to make those repayments (+ interest), probably at the end of the term. Remembering that the majority (not all) tenants will either receive increased benefits or 80% of their regular income, a better aim for Acorn would be a 20% deferral of rent where appropriate with tenants paying (say) 10% more for a defined period once the crisis is over.

  10. Great idea Acorn…… So where do landlords find the money to repay mortgages and other bills after not being paid rents for months. Are the mortgage companies going to let us off not paying mortgages? council going to suspend council tax? energy companies going to wipe out all payments for months? Property maintenance is going to be free? Err, I don’t think that the multi billion £ companies are going to wipe the slate clean for anyone. Why put the burden on the poor landlords? Most of us are not rich. We rely on our investments to keep us going in retirement.
    We will try to help out our tenants as much as possible but will not be getting anything back from the government. So stand to loose a lot of money trying to help out tenants. As they say, no good deed goes un punished.
    I only have a little bit of savings where I can help out. After this I have to sell off my houses and make tenants homeless. Which is Something that I never want to do. If I don’t get paid, I can not pay my bills, so I have to sell my assets to pay my bills……

  11. I’m. Landlord and my income is from renting and due to the Governments hatred of private Landlords I’m just making a living!
    How dare renters think it’s ok not to pay rent how do I pay my bills it’s disgusting!
    I get nothing as neither employed or self employed which is very unfair and now you want to push me to the breadline it’s an absolute disgrace !!

    • I feel yours pain, and agree totally and wholeheartedly with all your points, I/we have the same concerns, as 99% of Ll’s do, with regards to how it’s expected for landlords to support and foot all the bills for private tenants without due care for the landlord themselves, especially when there’s additional help for tenants, it sure seems we don’t even get a second thought.

      More recently I/we’ve had major concerns going forward, now, cannot wait to get out, we have great tenants, and do not hold anything against them, but all the continual sh1te landlords have faced is beyond a joke, its to much.

      Let the government sort all private tenants when many Ll’s get out, I bet all local councils will love that!!

      We are being taken for granted, it’s a joke and we’re sick to the back teeth of it.

      Moan over, thank you 😉

  12. Neither the Government nor Councils are helping landlords. Landlords are not considered to be self-employed by HMRC so do not qualify for the grant. Government has forced additional costs upon landlords which will have to be recouped from tenants: it’s called doing business. When the cost of materials goes up so does the selling price. Simple economics.

    Some landlords have had tenants move out but have not been able to replace them because of the stringent restrictions on moving. So now these properties have no tenants for the forseeable future yet empty properties still have to pay 100% Council Tax (in most areas). Are the councils helping out? Of course not. So they expect to be paid but where will the money come from? Obviously once those properties get new tenants, it will be the tenants who pay in the form of increased rent. Simple economics.

  13. One thing I notice here is a lot of negative sentiment.
    For those buying investments, this represents a great opportunity. In the long term.

    This is why investors should always keep some dry powder. In this case cash is king. Specifically USD.

  14. As a LL and a Tenant I’ll play devils advocate.
    LL takes mortgage holiday 3 months. Say £1000 per month. So £3000 total. Mortgage has 10 years to run. Not including interest calculation that’s an extra £25 per month repayment for the LL.
    Tenant takes rent holiday 3 months. I would assume, if the LL actually has a workable business this would be minimum £1500 per month but let’s make it even at £1000. So total £3000.
    Tenancy has 10 months to run. So tenant has to find £300 per month to make up the difference.
    I understand the unfairness to the LL but there is obviously an unfair situation if looked at from the tenants situation too.

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