Wales: Shadow Housing Minister calls for more support for private landlords

Posted on Saturday, September 5, 2020

Wales' Shadow Housing Minister Mark Isherwood MS has called on the Welsh Government to introduce more support for private landlords in the country.

Mr Isherwood said the Welsh Government must ‘end its prejudice’ against private landlords, and called for a greater understanding of the need to protect both tenants and landlords.

Making his call, the Shadow Housing Minister cited the NRLA’s research showing that the majority of landlords and tenants are working together to sustain tenancies at the moment.

He added that landlords are not immune to the affects of the pandemic saying:

“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.

“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”.

Earlier this month, the Welsh Government announced plans to introduce a Tenant Saver Loan Scheme in Wales following a campaign by the NRLA. The scheme will allow tenants to borrow money to cover the arrears they have built, with the cash paid directly to the landlord or agent.

Grants for landlords facing half a year without rent

It is not the first time the Shadow Housing Minister in Wales has backed the NRLA’s call.

Last month Mark Isherwood MS backed the NRLA’s call for the Welsh Government to rethink its decision to extend the possession notice period to six months.

As well as the loan scheme, Mark Isherwood MS suggested the Welsh Government should also provide a mechanism for landlords to access grants, where renters are unwilling to engage or make an application themselves.

He said: This is 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.

“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.