Help for Landlords:
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the National Landlords Association (NLA) soon to be combined into an 80,000 plus landlord association are jointly calling on the government to provide more support for the private rented sector (PRS).
Although they recognise the value of the measures taken so far on mortgage holidays* for struggling landlords, they want a bunch of further measures introduced which would provide help for those landlords without mortgages who find themselves in difficulties.
The organisations are suggesting that “all but emergency repairs and maintenance, where there is a threat to the safety of tenants or the habitability of the property,” should be postponed until normal business operations can be safely resumed.
In addition, these landlords bodies are arguing for any new licensing scheme payments due to local authorities to be deferred, and the costs charged by superior landlords for blocks of flats, such as service charges and ground rents, in relation to leasehold properties be, suspended.
Another suggestion is that the government speed up benefit payments, scrapping the automatic five-week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit, and paying the housing element of new UC claims directly to landlords, ensuring that the housing element “properly reflects rent levels.”
In a joint statement, the two organisations have 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.”
*Barclays have said that not all buy-to-let borrowers have been given the option of a 3-month repayment holiday because the support is aimed primarily at residential mortgage borrowers. A spokesperson for Barclays said: “This is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we are constantly reviewing how we best support all of our customers and are working on an appropriate solution and will provide an update later this week.”