REPOSSESSIONS under covid

Repossessions under Covid

Finally, a little sense at last from this hapless, flip flopping government regarding repossessions in these times of Covid, but it does not go far.

They have made concessions about how repossession cases in the rental market will be handled from 20th September.

This follows extensive lobbying by the National Residential Landlords Association (NLRA) after the Government shamefully U-turned on its plan for such cases to be heard again from 23rd August.

Regulations published last week and now in force tomorrow mean landlords will only need to give tenants who have committed anti-social behaviour four weeks’ notice of their intention to repossess a property. Those who have committed acts of domestic violence will only need to be given two weeks’ notice.

In cases of tenant rent arrears, landlords will now only be required to give four weeks’ notice where a tenant has built six months of arrears.

So this will ensure action can start to be taken now against tenants whose arrears had been built up before the (NewsSpeak alert) “lockdown”. The previous week the Government had said only that the courts would prioritise cases where tenants were in an astonishing year or more’s worth of arrears!

But this will mean nothing without a cast iron guarantee that the courts will begin to hear cases on 20th September. And it is disappointing that the six-month notice period will remain in cases where landlords need to regain possession of a property in order to live in it, which will hurt those, such as service men and women in the military and others who are renting their homes out whilst working away.

Also, the announcement fails also to provide the financial package of hardship loans needed to cover COVID-related rent arrears which are vital to sustaining tenancies. (Of course, tenants can access many other forms of help through the furlough scheme and of course help in other ways, such as Universal Credit).

Where Are We Now?

In this Plandemic, landlords have been asked by government to offer their tenants rent breaks and in turn have been advised to ask their banks for a “mortgage holiday”, which will always backfire because it will damage them with higher interest rates or outright denial when it comes to refinancing. (See other blogs we have written on this. We recommend landlords only request a mortgage holiday when there is no other course of action available, and they are really down to the last of their savings).

Plus, of course, many landlords don’t have mortgages anyway and lots rely solely on rental income for their pension.

In effect, the government, which has paid out billions to shore up the rest of the economy, has decided that landlords are not worthy of support and it has asked them to subsidise renters, (both the really struggling ones and ones who are just taking the Mickey to live rent free), out of their own pockets, which are already much denuded from years of extra tax squeezes.

Even when the courts do start again, there are likely to be very long delays too. The NRLA has calculated that many landlords will lose two years of rent before regaining their properties. Many coming back from working away will have to rent themselves when they come back, as they will not be able to get back into their former homes for many months.

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One comment

  • Landlords were expecting a lot from the government. Why are the landlords being ignored in these unprecedented times when all other sectors are being supported.

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