Members Stories Opinion

How the eviction ban has left one landlord sleeping on a friends sofa

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Since the eviction ban was announced, many landlords have been getting in touch with the NRLA about how the ban is affecting them.

The NRLA is calling for cases involving anti-social behaviour, or rent arrears built up BEFORE the pandemic, to be given priority when the courts can hear repossession cases once again.

In this blog, one landlord, who we’ve kept anonymous, shares how her tenants were due to leave after six months, but the lockdown meant they stayed at the property.

Despite people now being allowed to move house again, the tenants are still living at the property. The landlord has agreed to waive the unpaid rent, and to help the tenants find somewhere else to live, but is still unable to move back into the property herself. She is currently sleeping on a friends sofa, while she waits to get her property back. This is her story.

“I went travelling overseas last year and rented out my fully furnished Main Residence on an AST with a fixed term of six months.

The tenants were fully aware beforehand that I would be returning to the property to continue to live in it at the end of this period and that this was a shorter term let. They knew the amount of rent I was charging was significantly below the market value (by at least £400 pcm) because this was only a short term let. 

I left behind virtually all my belongings, furniture, some clothes and my second car in the garage at the property.

I was first made homeless when the Government suddenly increased the notice period to three months rather than the two I was expecting. 

Coronavirus came along, and I thought maybe the tenants would leave when people could move house again, given they knew of my intention to move back in to the property with my family, but this didn’t happen.

The tenants say they will not move out at the end of the notice period, and of course the Government has now further extended the ban on all evictions until 23 August.  I have offered to help find them somewhere else to live. My family and I are homeless until I can move into the property again.

The tenants cannot now afford the rent so I have offered to waive the unpaid amount of rent, but only if they move out at the end of the notice period or when the ban is lifted in August.  I have also helped them claim a higher amount of housing benefit as the Council had incorrectly calculated the amount due. 

The council would have to provide them with a home if they move out and I’ve offered to help, but I do not qualify for this help myself.

My family and I are homeless. 

I am having to stay with friends at present while I try and work out where to live until I get my home back.  My student daughter should be living with me but is having to stay with other family. We have no home, no furniture and, in my case, not many clothes.  The amount of unpaid rent means that I am having to use my savings to pay my monthly bills.

My main business, currently, is being a landlord.  I have three buy to let properties in addition to my Main Residence.  One set of tenants are unaffected by Covid and have continued to pay their rent in full, one other asked for a change to the rental payment date to coincide with the receipt of benefits (which I agreed to) and the third moved out at the end of their one month notice period after the start of lockdown despite me offering for them to stay.  I was lucky and had already re-rented this property although the new tenants were unable to move in until the lockdown was lifted so I had a two month period of no rent on this property.  These three rental  properties have buy to let mortgages on them and it is a condition of those mortgages that neither I nor my family live in them. 

As a landlord I get no financial assistance from the Government during Covid yet I am expected to financially support my tenants.  I am relying on my savings to be able to do so and, in the case of my main residence, I am unlikely to ever be able to recover that money. I am incurring significant additional costs from being homeless, none of which I can claim back against the tax due on my rental income.  

With the blunt policy of banning all evictions, the Government has given away my home, my possessions and my disposable income for the foreseeable future”.

  • We are urging members to Write to their MP, to help shape the eviction process when the eviction ban is lifted. To do so, use our tool.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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