Conservative MP Nigel Mills has suggested that the burden of shouldering spiralling rent debt should be shared three ways between tenants, landlords and the government.

A member of the Work and Pensions Committee, Mills (pictured main image, bottom right) believes tenants can’t be expected to clear their debts without help, which would end up with them being evicted, losing their deposit and struggling to get another tenancy. Instead, landlords could agree to waive a third of the arrears, tenants would pay back a third and the tax payer would pay a third.

“The government should step in and say it’s nobody’s fault,” says Mills. “Tenants will need to pay some of their debt, but in return a landlord could offer a new one-year lease so the tenancy can be sustained and the arrears could be cleared over a decent period, in return for a taxpayer contribution. Those proportions could be moved up or down but that seems to be a realistic model.”

He made the suggestion while taking part in an NRLA webinar on tackling Covid-related rent arrears along with Yvonne Fovargue, Labour chair of the All-Party Group for Debt and Personal Finance, and Chris Norris, policy director at the National Residential Landlords Association.

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Arrears triple

Government data shows that in England, since the start of lockdown measures last March, the proportion of private sector tenants in rent arrears has tripled.

Norris says that landlords are not asking the government to bail people out, but for enough support to let people help themselves. He adds: “If we can continue to work together towards that kind of targeted financial package and solution we all want to find, there’s an awful lot that can be done to work our way out of this.”

The NRLA will now submit a report based on the webinar to the Chancellor, the Housing Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Watch the webinar for free.

21 COMMENTS

    • your mortgage is paid by rent from tenants. not only were you allowed a mortgage holiday, you want a free house 1/3 cheaper ?

      • What an ignorant and unhelpful comment. How can a mortgage be paid by tenants who aren’t paying their rent? Furthermore, don’t you realise a mortgage holiday is just a deferral and the interest still goes on, and you end up paying more?

      • mortgage holiday? It’s no such thing. I presume you mean that banks say I can increase my mortgage. Of course they they wll, they make more money that way. But who then pays for that missed rent at the end of the mortgage plus the 25 years of extra interest?
        A word of warnining to all. Don’t agree to a contract if you don’t want to abide to it. That is what a contract is for.

  1. Govt brought in lockdown and eviction ban therefore govt should foot the bill plain and simple. Why should a landlord going abut his normal business be forced to take losses for something that was entirely out of his/her hands and indeed was mandated by govt.

    When are govt going to understand that the PRS is a business not a charity.

  2. Mmm Mills suggests the government should state rent arrears and debt is nobody’s fault . Will we use that logic for a wider set of circumstances, I will avoid paying for everything in future . My inability to pay for fuel, my mortgage, my weekly shopping are all things outside of my control and using Mills logic the banks , petrol stations and supermarkets should all bear a third of the responsibility, the government a third and me a third .

  3. Crazy; to continue the analogy – I am about to pay my roofer for repairs. I am sure he’ll accept 1/3 from me, pay 1/3 himself, and get this shambles of a government to pay the rest; after all, the weather which causes damage to the roof is ‘nobody’s fault’.

  4. LOL, comical, as mentioned before, the govt. placed the ‘rule’ /ban of no evictions, their law their mistake. However the PRS is taking the brunt.
    Next thing to keep in mind.. what circumstances will govt. impose for this part third payment..ie what effect did covid have in causing tenant being unable to pay rent.. furlough Y/N, less hours (10/20hrs?), loss of work /Universal Credit application ?
    Then who gets the pay and how.. oh direct to tenant or LL?? Open the courts and let’s get on with it!

  5. May Mr Mills would like to split my tax bill three ways and give me a 33% discount and also my council tax bills, water bills energy bills andthe rest of it. We even had to pay rates on empty property when the government prevent lettings. It is not good enough to shaft landlords with licesning fees and all other costs. Vote for Mr Mills for bankruptcy. Mr Mill and his merry mates have screwed up the PRS by preventing essential evictions, encourage non payment of rent by the opportunists. It is about time politicans started to live in the real world and acknowledge many landlords, particularly small landlords which own most of the property are suffering and will continue to suffer even more once these clowns have abolished S21. Even the poor tenants are suffering as Government have caused and driven much of the rent increases with their new mates Shelter. They are driving landlords out when they need them most shear arrogance!

  6. Sadly…not even courts managed to evict my non paying tenant who refused to leave after notice given…refused to leave after court order and then refused to leave when bailiffs booked due to self isolating!
    No one helping me with her rent arrears and payment of court fees and solicitor fees! Absolute shambles 😫

  7. There seems to be this notion that landlords in some way are on the hook for providing for the welfare of effective strangers. It seems to be founded on the idea that, because it is someone’s home and shelter is essential, this transcends normal client/business relationships and the landlord in some way has a higher level of responsibility. Perhaps so, but if we are being consistent then why aren’t shops required to give 1/3 off their food for hard up shoppers and discounts for all other manner of essential services?

    That said, the idea the landlord should provide financial assistance to their hard-up tenant is manifestly unfair. Rather than finding ways the community as a whole can share the burden of financial support, it places the burden of support squarely on the shoulders of affected landlords turning it into a lottery.

  8. Govt has already admitted it wants to get rid of small LL.

    Therefore it will do nothing to assist them.

    It is about time LL understood this simple paradigm.

    Govt seeks to use the heaven sent mass rent defaulting as further pressure to force small LL out of business.

    The last thing Govt wishes to do is to assist LL to stay in business.

    I have seen some LL post on various websites that they don’t believe Govt is actively seeking to eradicate them!!!

    Some LL really are that naive!!

    Let me state again.

    This Govt will do nothing to assist LL to be paid their rent arrears……….not even a third.

    Financial resilience will be the only way for LL to survive.

    That means LL must have decent reserves or additional income to cover for defaulted rent.

    If they don’t then they face potential repossession and bankruptcy.
    .Govt doesn’t care what happens to LL and it knows the wider electorate has no concerns a

    • Although it is clearly evident that private landlords are being discriminated against ruthlessly and relentlessly, I am not aware of the Government actually admitting that it wants to get rid of small landlords.

      If you, or anyone, could provide a link that would be appreciated.

  9. Totally agree with comment above. Government wants to force LL out of business by encouraging fraud against them and increasing regulatory burden. About time the NRLA recognised this and stopped trying to be a “valued partner” to Government. Call it for what it is – an outright attack by Government on LL’s.

  10. Agree with above 2 comments. Thank you Mr Mills for assisting my decision. I will be leaving the PRS more rapidly than I previously considered in anticipation of yet another “1/3” to get ripped from me. After the costs of all regulatory burdens, inability to deduct mortgage cost, I make a tiny margin, if any, from my rentals (certainly not enough to live on). Threatened licensing will close that margin completely. The only monetary benefit left is capital gain, so I had better leave now before that rises to 40%. If LLs like me leave the PRS the ultimate burden will fall on the tax payer to fund the massive rehousing cost of tenants with no viable PRS to turn to. There is no logic to this unless the aim is in fact to force LL out of business. No more naivety; message understood: get out while you still can.

  11. I also agree with Paul. Increased red tape and fees over the last few years have done me, I’ve had enough. I have got the sale of 5 houses underway at the moment, 4 of them in a Selective Licensing area. I will sell a four more and keep my best ones. Getting out after 26 years, the government will not stop it’s persicution of decent small Landlords.

  12. Nothing will change in society until the majority understand fully, we are run by immoral morons. The same shit keeps happening through the generations,…

  13. I have requested in the past few weeks, and I will do it again now. Why don’t we, Landlords, get together and form an alliance to fight for ourselves. I have said I would not mind getting the system under way, but sadly no one has responded to my plea. The NRLA are clearly in bed with the government. Nothing will make me join the organisation again. Unless we join togdbether (no fees involved) we will never get the better of the government, and the NRLA and others that make our lives a complete mysery. My name is Beryl Williams and
    my email is db.williams@hotmail.co.uk
    Why can’t we make a strong alliance and fight for ourselves together? No one will fight our corner unless we will, and in unity is strength.

    • Unfortunately you are on a hiding to NOTHING!

      YOU fail to appreciate that small LL are reviled by society.

      NO politician will EVER support small LL.

      That would be electoral suicide!

      Small LL are resented as those who don’t have the assets that small LL have achieved are thoroughly despised.

      Envy; jealousy etc are what causes this resentment.

      This resentment doesn’t stretch to large corporate LL.

      This is because becoming a large corporate is not within the attainment level of most people.

      But they feel that if it wasn’t for other people owning the assets they want then they could have such assets for themselves.

      You only have to read the idiot comments on Guardian articles to see the evidence of this resentment writ large.

      Getting LL to act together is akin to herding cats.

      It will never happen.

      Small LL will never receive any Govt support no matter how much we know how vital they are.

      The vast majority of the population resents small private LL existing.

      So you need to bear all this in mind if you wish to engage in business as a resented small LL.

      You need to be extremely resilient as a LL in all ways if you are to prosper.

      You will receive no assistance from Govt or any empathy or sympathy from society at large.

      That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide the best service you can.

      But you will be resented for being able to do so.

      Unfortunately I am no longer prepared to tolerate the Govt and Council attacks on me.

      I intend to exit the industry.
      I will be utilising the lodger business model where I won’t be subject to most of the ridiculous AST regulations etc.

      Lodgers have very little security of any sort.

      This means that single household letting will be ended by me

      Only single unrelated lodgers will be taken by me.

      The attacks on LL are resulting in LL selling up or reducing massively the numbers of properties available for letting.

      It is perhaps no bad thing that LL are effectively being forced to become more resilient.
      This means reducing leverage and numbers of properties.

      This doesn’t assist tenants at all.

      But it is perfectly possible to reduce BTL properties to one mortgage free residential property where lodgers may be housed.

      Net yield will be roughly the same but without all the stupid AST regulations.

      The main one being that LL can easily get rid of RENT DEFAULTING LODGERS.

      Tenants cause LL rent defaulting losses of about £9 billion per year from a gross income of about £17 billion

      So feckless rent defaulting tenants cause half of rental income to be lost.

      Plus LL face additional losses as they are forced to cover operating costs without rental income.

      They will never recover these losses from rent defaulting tenants.

      You have to realise you are on your own.

      If you are unable to survive on your own then you need to stop being an AST LL.

      A lodger LL is far more viable.

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