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Landlords call for government to build on work to support private rented sector

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The country’s leading landlord organisations are calling on the Government to build on its positive steps to date to support the private rented sector through the coronavirus outbreak.

The organisations are calling for:

Efforts to help reduce costs for landlords without mortgages

Not all landlords have a mortgage and therefore will be unable to secure a buy-to-let mortgage holiday. To assist this group to work with tenants struggling to pay their rent the RLA and NLA are calling for a range of measures, including:

  • A recognition that all but emergency repairs and maintenance where there is a threat to the safety of tenants or the habitability of the property will be postponed until such time that normal business may resume. This would require a national policy of suspending enforcement action by councils and others, not least to prevent the spread of the virus. A piecemeal council by council approach is not sufficient.
  • Pausing any new payments to councils for licensing schemes.
  • Waiving costs charged by superior landlords for blocks of flats, such as service charges, and ground rent charges in relation to leasehold properties.

Boosting tenant incomes

Alongside this, it is vital that everything possible is done to support the incomes of tenants adversely affected by the outbreak.

With the Chancellor expected to outline measures today, the RLA and NLA are calling for a package to include:

  • Scrapping the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit.
  • Ensuring the housing element properly reflects rent levels.
  • Paying the housing element of new UC claims directly to the landlords in both the social and private rented sectors to provide assurance that rent is covered.

In a joint statement, the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association said:

“We welcome the Government’s constructive engagement to date and will continue to work with them in the same spirit.

“Whilst measures to allow buy-to-let mortgage holidays are welcome, further action is needed.

“Everything possible needs to be done to support the incomes of tenants affected by the crisis. That means a suite of measures to ensure benefits can be paid swiftly, and that they properly cover the costs of rents.

“This needs to be matched with further measures to reduce the costs faced especially by landlords without a mortgage. This would provide them with greater flexibility to work with tenants struggling as a consequence of the virus.

“We recognise the concerns that many landlords and tenants will still have and are working closely with the Government to ensure they are addressed.

“In the meantime we thank landlords who are supporting their tenants at this difficult time.”

  • The RLA has an updated coronavirus section for landlords on its website. Separate guides are now available for Property Management, Minimising Health Risks, Changes to the Possession Rules and Financial Support for landlords.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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