Many landlords feel that every politician in the land is clamouring for the tenant vote at the moment, including many senior Conservative ministers, following last weeks’ evictions ban extension in England and Wales.
But at least they can count on the support of at one Tory – Mark Isherwood, Conservative Welsh Member of the Senedd for North Wales, who is also the country’s shadow spokesperson for Local Government, Communities and North Wales Growth Deal.
He has today called for greater understanding by the Welsh Labour-led government of the need to protect both tenants and landlords – particularly in light of the increasing dependency of people on the private-rented sector for housing and the damaging effect Covid-19 and the pandemic have had on the sector.
“The overwhelming majority of tenants who have approached their landlord or letting agent for support during the coronavirus pandemic – such as for a rent deferral, a rent reduction or some other assistance – have received a positive response,” he says.
“However, landlords have – in some cases during the pandemic – been left without rent for their properties for months not because the tenants couldn’t pay, but because they wouldn’t.
“Unlike other groups, there are no direct financial measures to help landlords carry the burden brought about by the Welsh Government’s decision of an extension of notice period for repossession of a property.
“The Welsh Labour-led Government must end its prejudice again private landlords and help them to maintain a good number of quality rental properties.”
- Taking up the NRLA’s proposal to introduce a low-cost or interest-free tenant-loan scheme for Covid-19 related arrears, where payment is made to the landlord.
- Setting up a mechanism for landlords to access grants, where renters are unwilling to engage or make an application themselves, and which would be particularly relevant for landlords whose possession cases started before the stay and for those where arrears have accrued unrelated to Covid.
“These landlords have faced at least six additional months without rent because of the restrictions placed upon them even though the tenancy had failed before the crisis began,” he says.
“There is a fine balance that must be struck to protect both parties in these arrangements. Tenants of course need the security of a good home and a responsible landlord, but landlords need responsible tenants who pay their rent.
“The majority of landlords are individuals who let out one or two properties. Many of these rely on that income for their day to day living expenses or to provide pensions.
“To drive decent landlords out of the sector and reduce the housing stock available for rent would be detrimental to tenants in the long run.”