Coronavirus  

Calls on govt to support landlords during coronavirus

Calls on govt to support landlords during coronavirus

Two landlord organisations are calling for government and mortgage lenders to introduce a package of measures to support tenants and landlords hit by the coronavirus.

Both the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association are lobbying for the government and mortgage providers to give landlords a period of grace with certain payments so they can deal with the effects of coronavirus on their finances.

In particular, the groups want a temporary scrap of the five-week wait before universal credit claimants get their first payment and for lenders to “look sympathetically” on requests by landlords for mortgage payment holidays where their income is being affected through reduced or non-payment of rent.

They have also called for the government to pause the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax.

Since April 2017 tax relief on mortgage interest has been gradually phased out so that from April 2020, mortgage expenses will not be able to be deducted from rental income to reduce tax bills.

Instead, landlords will receive a tax-credit, based on 20 per cent of their mortgage interest payments. 

This is less generous for higher-rate taxpayers, who effectively received 40 per cent tax relief on mortgage payments under the old rules. 

In a joint statement, the RLA and the NLA said: “We are encouraging all landlords to work positively with tenants to provide support where needed throughout this difficult period. 

“Landlords should be as flexible as they can to help tenants facing payment difficulties resulting from the impact of the coronavirus.”

FTAdviser reported last week (March 10) that a number of high-street lenders are allowing borrowers to defer their mortgage payments if they are affected by coronavirus.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is allowing mortgage and loan repayments to be deferred for up to three months, alongside temporary increased credit and cash withdrawal limits.

But these measures are not a blanket provision and will only apply to customers in financial difficulty.

Santander will also offer support to customers on a case-by-case basis, which includes the option to defer or reduce payments that are due.

The spreading crisis surrounding coronavirus has wiped billions off the stock markets, with the FTSE 100 dropping nearly 11 per cent on Friday (March 13) — the worst daily dip in more than 30 years.

Stock markets have been dropping across the globe since the coronavirus started to become a major issue as countries closed borders and introduced lockdowns to curb the crisis.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contacts, to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs and restaurants.

People in at-risk groups will be asked within days to stay home for 12 weeks.

This afternoon the chancellor is expected to announce new measures to curb the impact of the crisis on businesses.

amy.austin@ft.com

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