The government have announced on Wednesday in the House of Commons that emergency legislation is to be put in place to protect those who could face eviction if they cannot pay their rent.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said private tenants were “worried sick” they might not be able to pay their rents if they fell ill.
The Prime Minister said in the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions, he will take action to protect “other actors in the economy.”
The government have been urged to more to help protect families, workers and tenants who are or could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said, “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.
“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”
James Kirimy, General Manager at Spotahome.com, the European wide medium-term lettings platform said, “Across the rental sector, this will come as a very welcome support package from the UK government and one that was needed to calm the nerves of tenants and landlords as the situation worsens.
“The nation’s tenants will breathe a sigh of relief today now that the Government have stepped up to match Tuesday’s mortgage payers’ three-month repayment holiday with financial support for them too should they find themselves unable to work.
“Landlords will also rest easier tonight knowing that they are protected financially, in the short term at the very least.”
Marc von Grundherr, Director of leading independent London letting agent Benham and Reeves said, “We’re all for state support at a time of crisis however there’s a significant unintended consequence of this announcement and that is the fact tenants now have nothing to lose if they simply stop paying their rent. It will simply be used as a literal get out of jail free card for all of the UK’s 16m or so private and social housing tenants and this could leave a path of destruction within the rental market if not correctly implemented and monitored.
“Let’s see what the detail reveal but at first glance, this perhaps goes too far unless there are specific criteria that must be met and proven before tenants stop paying and landlords claim their mortgage holiday. Ultimately, landlords will still have to pay as this approach is a deferral, not a let off. How will they recoup the rent if tenants are unable or simply refuse to pay it?”
Matt Hooker, Founder at Ome, the tenancy deposit alternative said, “Very good news on the face of it and great that tenants and landlords will both be afforded the same protection as homeowners. There may have been a temptation to appease just one part of the rental food chain but it’s as important the tenants who will be struggling due to a lack of work are protected just as much as the landlords facing months of lost rental income.
“Hopefully, these measures will be sufficient as any landlord that feels they are owed above and beyond the three months may turn to rental deposits to recoup these lost finances and we need to ensure this isn’t done unfairly through property dispute resolution.”
The government are ready to do more to keep people in their jobs, said the Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Last week RBS and NatWest said they are offering a three month mortgage break and loan repayments for their customers who are affected by coronavirus to stem any potential tide of defaults over the outbreak.
The banking group are also offering to stop fees on credit cars card advances, and the daily withdrawal limit will now rise to £500.
A spokeswoman for RBS said: “We are monitoring the potential impact of coronavirus across all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption.
“We have a strong track record in working with our customers who are affected by disruption outside of their control.”