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Members rallied to contact MPs as evictions ban extended

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The extension of the evictions ban will have devastating consequences for some landlords, with the NRLA encouraging those affected  to write to their MPs to make sure their voices are heard.

Landlords could face serious financial hardship or end up stuck with anti-social tenants for months on end as a result of the extension and the association wants them to share their experiences to make sure they have their say when it comes to agreeing a new possessions process.

Financial hardship

Some – who had significant rent arrears before the coronavirus lockdown began – now face a further five months without rent. This could be enough to force some out of business and create financial hardship for those reliant on their rental income. 

The move also means they are powerless to take action against anti-social tenants for a further two months, with the government confirming the courts will not be hearing possession cases until at least 23 August.

The NRLA is encouraging members to take action by writing to their MP and asking them, in turn, to write to the Secretaries of State for Housing and Justice.

Key asks

A standard letter has now been drawn up outlining the key asks, with room for landlords to share their own experiences. It is calling for: 

  • A clear statement from the Government reiterating that those who can pay their rent should do so
  • Supporting tenants most in need to pay their rents by boosting the Local Housing Allowance, developing interest free hardship loans for tenants and . 
  • Provide compensation to landlords who have existing possession orders from the courts but cannot execute them, and have therefore will have missed five months’ of rent payments as a result of Government actions
  • Prioritise possession cases that began before the lockdown but were then paused,  those related to rent arrears built before the lockdown and cases of tenants committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence. 
  • Clear plans to ensure courts process legitimate possession claims more swiftly once they do reopen.

Since the extension was announced a number of landlords have been in contact to share their stories.

One landlord, a single mother had submitted court papers to repossess her property prior to Covid-19, as her tenant hadn’t paid rent since November last year, and has convictions for harassing the neighbours. 

The tenant, who is on furlough, is now failing to pay their rent, with the landlord struggling to make mortgage payments – and a new job under threat by the pandemic. 

A second landlord got in touch who is powerless to tackle a HMO tenant who is paying little rent, behaving anti-socially and breaking lockdown by holding parties in the house.

Landlords’ voices must be heard

Ben Beadle, National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) said: “It’s essential landlords’ voices are heard as the process for possessions is agreed.  

“Tenants affected by coronavirus need to be supported, but it is equally important that landlords are able to regain possession in legitimate circumstances – for example antisocial behaviour.  

“The Government also needs to recognise the financial impact on individual landlords of significant rent arrears pre-dating the coronavirus measures – and of a further five months without payment.

“We are encouraging members to write to their MP –sharing personal experiences carry a lot of weight.

“I would encourage members to include details about how they and their tenants have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and any actions they have taken to support those living in their rental homes.” 

The standard example letter which landlords can use as inspiration for their own letter can be accessed here. 

For more detail on each of the key asks, click here.                                           

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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