Baroness Altmann echoed the feelings of many people in the private rented sector when she told Letting Agent Today last week that the Government needs to do more to support buy-to-let landlords. The Conservative peer and consumer campaigner highlighted the plight of small landlords, who may only own one or two properties and “ have been compassionate in the face of requests from renters during the pandemic” but who are now struggling with their own finances.
Despite supporting the eviction ban “in principle” Baroness Altmann also pointed out that an unintended consequence of the five month long moratorium has been that, aswell as protecting vulnerable tenants, it has also prevented evictions of anti-social tenants and has left some landlords struggling to pay their own bills.
As we have highlighted in this blog before, many buy-to-let investors enter the sector in order to furnish themselves with a pension. Now, as a result of the pandemic, they are finding themselves with little or no rental income but must still find the money to pay for licensing fees, insurance, repairs and possibly even utility bills.
In response to the problems now being faced by buy-to-let landlords, Baroness Altmann is suggesting a range of measures including:
- Government to clearly re-state that tenants must, wherever possible, continue to pay their rent as normal, and stop implying that all landlords are wealthy or are large firms who can afford to receive no income
- Government to offer landlords and tenants additional support, including mediation, to agree rent repayment plans where arrears have built up as a result of the pandemic
- Court processes to be urgently reformed so that possession cases are heard fast in order to help clear the backlog of cases
- Clear plans to be put in place to respond to possible future local lockdowns, perhaps by pausing repossession cases in those areas, within a specific timeframe.
We support Baroness Altmann’s proposals. It is only fair to continue to support vulnerable tenants wherever possible while at the same time making life easier for beleagured landlords. In the last few months we have all become accustomed to doing all kinds of things remotely, so we particularly like her practical suggestion that court reforms could easily include continued online hearings and making better use of web-based arbitration.
At Ringley, we’re doing our best to support the landlords we work with who find themselves with tenants in arrears. Using our new lettings platform PlanetRent may also help by simplifying rent collection. Payments are made automatically via direct debit on the same date each month, enabling tenants to budget for their rent. Another really useful feature is that payments are taken from joint tenants individually – improving the collection rate for landlords – and then jointly from other tenants if one should default.
There’s no subscription and we have a great pricing model. PlanetRent is pay-as-you-go, so why not check it out today and help your tenants pay their rent quickly, easily – and on time.
Why not READ our Property Blog: www.ringleypropertyblog.co.uk