Tenant groups accuse agents of harassing renters

Agents have been accused of harassing tenants to pay rent in full as pressure grows for the payments to be suspended.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, trade unions, lawyers and journalists are among signatories who have backed an open letter calling for the Government to suspend rent, cancel arrears and protect renters from eviction.

The letter, organised by activists from the London Renters Union, Acorn and Living Rent makes a number of claims, with one stating: “Tenant unions have collected a wealth of evidence showing that estate agents and landlords are harassing renters to continue to pay rent in full.

“Many renters are fearful of eviction and of getting into unmanageable debt.”

It also claims that the Government has made it clear that landlords can issue eviction notices to renters who enter into rent debt, despite all evictions suspended for three months – ending in June.

The letter said: “Polling shows six in 10 renters have suffered losses to their income and many are left out of government support schemes or do not receive enough to cover rent and other essentials such as food.

“The Conservative 2019 manifesto pledged ‘a better deal for renters’ but current government policy leaves renters to fend for themselves.”

The move follows calls from Labour over the weekend to extend the eviction suspension by six months and to give renters two years to pay off any rent arrears built up during the crisis.

Think tank the New Economics Foundation has gone further, calling for rents to be suspended alongside a mortgage freeze and income protection for landlords.

Meanwhile, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has hit back at claims from campaign group Generation Rent that the majority of landlords are failing to support tenants needing help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NRLA said an unreleased survey of more than 4,500 landlords has found that 90% have responded positively to tenants requesting support.

The help given was in the form of a rent reduction or deferral, a rent free period, early release from a tenancy or a refund on service charges included in rents for homes of multiple occupation.

Of the landlords surveyed, 44% had been asked for help by at least one tenant.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Whilst many tenants have been able to continue paying their rents in full and on time, in accordance with Government advice, we recognise the strain that many others are under at this difficult time.

“That is why it is good news that, as our research shows, nearly all the landlords approached for help by their tenants are responding positively.

“With no direct support aside from a mortgage deferment, landlords are playing their part to avoid unnecessary anxiety for tenants and our figures show that the vast majority of tenants and landlords have a good relationship with each other.”



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  1. PMT

    Inaccurate and ignorant information like this from Acorn and others is why I have now made a firm commitment to sell all my rental properties.
    Why should rent be written off if the tenant is living there, and has money?
    Why are these tenants not receiving government support???  Is it because they are tax cheats?
    Seriously, I have to thank Acorn etc., because although this sort of campaign that would bankrupt me and cause me to become homeless is extremely stressful, it has also helped me realise that whilst there are organisations like this around, there is no place for me in the UK to operate as a decent landlord who is supplying excellent quality accommodation to tenants who want and appreciate it. 
    The NRLA is also doing an extremely poor job.  It is not addressing the issue head-on, asking the right questions, nor helping people understand what being a landlord really is.

    1. elibh35

      I am finding the NRLA (RLA & NLA) are increasingly not in touch with being a landlord, and dont advocate at all on Landlords behalf although we pay in full for it.

      Regarding this Garbage from Shelter- not even worse a response, I can only speak forthe North East and every single tenant should either be working or on Furlough or on Benefits so shouldnt have any issues in paying there rent.

      Renters should have more money now as much less things to spend money on.



    Acorn, Shelter, London Renters Union etc wont be satisfied until Landlords agree to provide unlimited free accommodation to anyone who wishes to live there.

    In other words, Landlords should move to completely ‘charitable status’ just like Shelter.

    Oh no, wait a minute, Shelter dont provide free accommodation for renters, do they?

    1. Will2

      No they don’t provide any accommodation but Government spends OUR money (taxes) on supporting them (without our consent) together with Nationwide Building Society spending their investers money on them (WITHOUT investors consent & their CEO should be sacked for allowing it) and a cut of the money you spend at B&Q at least you can choose not to spend any money at B&Q!

  3. Will2

    Landlords accuse John McDonnell, Trade Unions and journalists of harrassment.  As they do not want to be held responible for contractual liabilities (where they can) the state should remove all benefits and return any property they occupy to the rightful owner.  Sounds a bit luntic doesn’t it? a bit like the people/groups in this article.

  4. Woodentop

    I have a landlord that has received no rent pre Covid-19 and issued correct notice to quit before 27th March 2020 3 month put hold on possession proceedings. The tenant now aware of this from Shelter is living rent free for a further 3 months and they wish to consider it for another 3 months ….. The landlord has no hope in this case of ever recovering lost rent.


    Landlords will vacate the market at the first opportunity.  Are John McDonnell, trade unions, lawyers and journalists that thick!!!!

    1. PMT

      It is a shame, as low income earners will find it harder to rent post Covid-19.

      I take out rent insurance, and to get this, my tenants have to go through rigorous checks.  The lowest earner probably earns c. £28k, and so far, all my rents have been paid (I allowed 2 people to leave early, and 1 pays late every month as a result of the virus, but otherwise, everyone’s paying).

      I only started doing this after a low earner (and low lifer in this case) didn’t pay rent for 12 months, but bought a £400 PlayStation for her 4 year old son that Christmas!  When I saw this, I went straight to Court (had served pre-emptory notices months before, but still fell for her sob story.  Her behaviour forged my path going forward!).

      Your landlord may we’ll learn the same lesson that I did, as will many more because of this idiocy 🙁

      1. Woodentop

        At over 30 years of estate agency I can right a book on the subject. I wouldn’t know the figure lost within the industry and never recovered due to unscrupulous tenants but it will be £multi-millions and often created by manipulation by these people/organisations championing “Looney Left Ideology”.

    2. Will2

      The answer to you last paragraph is yes they are not only thick but manipulative in my opinion

    3. qweasdzxc

      The landlord should issue proceedings for the rent owed. This isn’t a possession hearing and so hasn’t been blocked. Doing this now means the court papers can be served on the tenant at an address youknow they are living at. It doesn’t preclude a possession claim later.

      You could also look at using Schedule 9 to the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 to get the rent paid if they are a benefit claimant.

  5. Jim S

    I think these people need to go and live on a kibbutz commune until they all grow up and learn that you have to pay for your way in society and not just be mollcodled ignorant all of there life. Why are these people even listened to.

  6. PMT

    I’m so riled up!  What these guys don’t realise is that an empty property is better than one with a tenant who won’t pay.  With an empty property, you won’t be under the onerous landlord burdens that we are under.

    I shall even go one step further, in order to forestall squatters breaking in, I’d let my children and their friends live there for free.  If I’m going down, I shall happily guide my own course

  7. kittygirl06

    The government should stamp out these groups before they let them get to powerful.

    They expect to pay for nothing, landlords have to live they get no support from government.

    These groups have supported regs and S24 which has increased the costs and risks of being a landlord many hardly now make any profit.

    When u consider the taxes the PRS pays against a housing Soc who gives affordable rents at 80%

    If taxes were scrapped for the PRS if they gave affordable rents at 80% I am sure most  would be in a much better position.

    These tenants get 80% furlough and UC do should be able to pay.

    The government should have paid rents direct to landlord to avoid evictions where the tenants are spending the rent money

  8. PossessionFriendUK39

    95% of Tenants are able to,  AND  are paying,  its not fair on them for a small minority to ‘ jump on the bandwagon’  when the state is paying them any lost wages.


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