A LandlordZONE Twitter poll asking if tenants should have their rent arrears written off by landlords has gone viral, sparking strong and even violent feeling among many radical tweeters.

The hot topic attracted nearly 2,000 votes and was evidently shared among many anti-landlord, pro-tenant groups, which meant the outcome was that a predictable 66% of respondents voted yes and only 37% disagreed.

While Twitter is no reflection of real life, many landlords came to the sector’s defence and questioned whether they should have to be responsible for supplying free housing, although the anti-landlord brigade was more outspoken.

One said: “Yes absolutely. Lots of us have lost income over the last year that isn’t going to come back. If you’re a landlord and struggling, get a proper job.”

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Nationalisation call

However, the bile shown by some activists towards landlords was worrying, with one post insinuating that they should be shot and many others calling for housing to be nationalised as it was during Mao’s years in China.

One, going under the name Trotsky of the 21st Century, said: “I answered no, because ‘landlords’ shouldn’t exist as an economic category.”

Another even started his own poll asking whether landlords should have their properties compulsorily purchased and handed to tenants, offering the sardonic option of only either ‘yes’ or ‘yes’. It managed to garner 137 votes.

Rent arrears

The more serious purpose of our poll was to highlight the looming rent arrears crisis that threatens to overwhelm the sector when the eviction ban ends.

Many charities and housing groups including the National Residential Landlords Association have called for the government to introduce tenant hardship loans for renters in England impacted by the pandemic, particularly as their counterparts in Scotland and Wales can already access them.

12 COMMENTS

  1. It was already evident in March 2020 that the UK was going the same way as communist Russia, when evictions (even those which were in the pipeline and had nothing whatsoever to do with Coronavirus) were stayed, and properties were effectively requisitioned in favour of tenants who should have moved on. Landlords who had followed the legal process to the letter (s8 or s21 notice, possession order and eviction warrant) were suddenly deprived of their property rights and were therefore denied their income. Many also fell through the cracks of the government support, as the government considered them to be investors rather than self-employed. I have heard of governments trying to achieve the centre ground in order to win votes, but this is ridiculous! Is the current government to the left of Lenin? Is this, in fact, Soviet Russia?

  2. Absolutely absurd us landlords are not your mummy and daddy’s that has to house you for free!! If you aren’t working then claim universal credit and claim housing benefits. And better yet get off your ass and get a job like the rest of us are doing. I’m working 2 jobs. Why so i dont sponge of people and the government and be able to provide a healthy stable life for my family. You cant blame anyone but your self.

    • Most tenants were getting help with benefits but simply refused to pay the landlord using the coronavirus as an excuse so they didn’t have to pay. Not all tenants are bad and the same can be said for Landords. There is however tenants out there who are simply using these regulations to steal the tax payer funds they receive in benefits.

      The Landlords who are being exploited by this, should not be the ones to suffer in this situation. If you receive benefits to pay your rent and choose not to pay your rent then you should be evicted immediately.

      As it stands, this money goes on fags, sky TV, alcohol and frivolous other luxuries.

      Nanny state has done this and is happy to push the good landlords out the space.

  3. I’m a landlord with one property, which I used to live in myself. When I moved out I kept the property on and rented it out as an investment/pension, so that later on in life I can continue to support myself rather than sponge off the hard-working tax payer (if there are any of those left by the time I’m old). I’m also self-employed in a ‘proper’ job just to allay anyone’s fears that I might be swanning around living the life of Riley at the expense of my tenants. If anyone would like to ‘compulsorily purchase’ my property from me at a fair market price then please, be my guest, as I sure as hell won’t be letting it out again whilst landlords are caught in this ridiculous situation of being expected to act as a lending bank and a homelessness charity. The goverment has bailed out those that have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic, to the tune of billions, yet any income from property is NOT included when calculating whether or not you are eligible for help via the Self Employed Income Support Scheme. They are, however, quite happy to tax said income as ‘income’ the rest of the time. For those who are anti-landlords, please don’t forget that for many people, renting rather than buying is a choice, rather than a hardship that is forced upon them. And it’s looking like quite an attractive choice at the moment – refuse to pay any rent, refuse to move out, phone the landlord every time the loo roll needs changing… what’s not to love?!

    • RW, you are spot on. L/L are not self employed in the eyes of the government so have not been able to claim a loss of income due to tenants refusing to pay the rent. Tenants pocketing their housing benefit while the L/L struggles to pay mortgages and living costs. It’s a disgrace.

  4. If anyone has any issues with tenants on housing benefit who is not forwarding rent to their landlord, just chase the DWP to pay the housing element (and arrears repayment) to the LL.

  5. I wish it was so easy as Joanna suggests here. I’ve been there just before the pandemic started. It was a 7 months long process with numerous phone calls and emails that DWP and my tenants finally agreed to the Third Party (for arrears) and Direct Payments (for ongoing rent). After I received two instalments, my tenants cancelled without notifying me. Asking them when no money arrived in my account, they forwarded a quote from DWP, that they don’t have to pay anything “due to covid”. I had absolutely no chance! They piled up rent arrears of just under 8 weeks before the pandemic and since, then trashed my flat and enjoyed free housing. There is nothing I can do, possession order is a joke as I can’t enforce it.
    I agree with RW 🙂

  6. If you can it is usually more cost effective to keep a property empty at the moment.

    Usually councils want to know if a property is empty and a LL just needs to advise that they are living there.
    A LL can live in multiple properties.
    Just say you have a lodger in each.

    Only one SPD is allowed anyway.
    The losses a rent defaulting tenant could cause far outweigh the losses of keeping a property empty.

    At least if empty you are not exposed to a the risks of feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    Far better to have lodgers.
    Just the LL needs to stay at the property once per month.
    So that means no family lodgers..
    Just unrelated lodgers.
    Lodger rents have to be all inclusive as the LL resides there periodically.

    Lodgers mean potentially more turnover.
    Plus LL needs to ensure they comply with HMO regulations if more than 4 occupants.
    Best to keep to no more than 3 lodgers.

    But Additional Licence areas have to be checked with the Council to see how many lodger occupants before a licence is required which may have onerous conditions.
    So a LL would need to reduce numbers of lodgers occupants.

    I believe having 2 lodger occupants is the sweet spot as it avoids CGT if a resi property.

    But whatever way you look at it having tenants rather than lodgers is now a zero sum game.

  7. I think these tenants are very short sighted, they seem to forget that in the current times we live in, that referencing has never been more important. People who have decided to live rent free during Covid, will find it difficult to find accommodation in the future. The government and councils alike, will also find less landlords willing to take social tenants or people who have fallen on hard times, so they will have to come up with a scheme to deal with the ever problematic housing situation that this country faces. I no longer rent to friends/relatives/friends of friends, people who need a 2nd chance or people that ‘look’ fine. No Risks, I would rather keep my property empty than take a chance on someone. REFERENCE, REFERENCE, REFERENCE!

  8. Wow, this post sure has angered me, I’m still spitting blood after 1st seeing soon after it became available!

    My initial thought was why the h£ll is a so called Landlord site, one that claims: Our Mission

    Our primary aim is to “help” new and experienced landlords alike, with emphasise on the HELP!

    A landlord site decides on stoking the flames of hatred by poring even more fuel onto the fire.

    The amount of unjust, mainly, uneducated vitriol that’s being fueled by groups like shelter that’s aimed direct at landlords is unprecedented.

    I feel ashamed, as so many tenants are so very naive, it’s embarrassing at times; with what they chose to post, they regurgitate the line of hate that they honestly have no clue about, facts are that they see others better off and cannot cope, it builds resentment and then human nature of blame,

    We are lucky, as we live in a lovely house, one that we could never afford, even at prices levels of say 15 – 20 years ago, this, a truly disgusting Labour lie, their boom and bust farce and fanciful claims, one of which helped made this matter many times worse, as property prices rocketed during their tenure, do you people not remember that, but this is not a landlords fault, they cannot be blamed for something they’re didn’t create incidentally, I washed my hands with that party, people are brainwashed if they believe the labourer party is a party for them, lol, they’re just as bad as all the rest, another sad fact!

    To think this is one of several sites I chose to read, yet, it’s the last time I’ll visit “a landlords anti landlord site” why?

    You have done landlords a unjust disservice here, knowing how many tenants haven’t got a freaking clue, coupled with rubbish like this that antagonise and helps with the belief that all landlords practically print their own money, yes, tripe like this isn’t doing anyone any favours! Is it? It all just adds to the malevolence aimed towards landlords.

    Honestly, why?

    It barley make any sense at all, I have took time to look at this from a multitude of angles, but again, it’s baloney like this that helps forge and impacts the conscious/subconscious negative perceptions of landlords, and helps the anti landlord brigade keep gibberishly rolling on, not impressed one little iota, I mean why!!

    You already know the answers, you already know exactly what hate will be posted, and as per usual with social media – the keyboard warriors come out the cracks to spew their sickening vile, with unjust, ignorant and uneducated skewed warble.

    The facts are our landlords have helped us tremendously, without asking, and from day one.

    As a family of 4 with 2 kids under 5, and 1 pet; they have done so much, with their 1st approach their kindest, as during this pandemic – we knew there was never any real threat of eviction, even if we Cound couldn’t pay rent – so deserved, they have even helped with one of our parents, unbelievable, and we know they are not well off, to coin the phrase: accidental landlords and two lovely guys, and unbelievably we find that a landlord site of this gravitas then decides to help stoke up more hatred!

    As tenants, our main fear now, and thanks to po0p like this – that our landlord will decide to sell and quit, we’ve all said we wouldn’t be surprised or blame them if they do, to repeat with thanks to posts like this that does nothing but fueling the constant landlord abuse.

    I am aghast and cannot comprehend why this site has decided to also stick their oar in and help keep the hatred simmering along, seriously not good.

    Whom every decided this, they should be removed from their job, they obviously do not realise that they are biting the hands that feed them!!

    Goodbye.

  9. It seems that one main point this report on the survey highlighted is that ignorant anti-landlord groups shout louder than pro LL groups. NRLA and others this is your cue to step up and start shouting.

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