Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to do more to safeguard the incomes of landlords and tenants to avoid an eviction crisis once the coronavirus outbreak subsides.
Two online petition protests claim current government policy freezing evictions for three months and lenders offering mortgage holidays is only storing up financial problems for private landlords and renters.
Landlord Mohammed Munim has the support of nearly 2,000 protestors who have signed his online campaign asking for an 80% rent guarantee for small landlords.
Munim claims a ban on evictions only protects tenants in the short term and will leave landlords with the burden of sorting out arrears once the outbreak is over.
“Rental income is subject to income tax – to say nothing of the stamp duty premium paid by landlords. It seems only fair that it should be subject to the same government guarantees as other incomes,” he says.
“A three-month ban on possessions activity will result in even longer spells without rental income – possibly six months or more of state-enforced void periods.
“Payment holidays on buy-to-let mortgages will be of limited help to landlords who in many cases rely on income from a small number of properties. If one or more of these is not generating an income for an extended period, it could cause families real financial difficulty.”
Meanwhile, campaign group London Renters Union is calling for a freeze on rents until the coronavirus crisis passes.
Research by the union shows one in six private tenants have already sought financial help to pay their day-to-day bills.
The LRU is also running an online petition to raise support for a rent freeze.
The petition has already reached more than 103,000 signatures.
“Without action to suspend rent payments, large numbers of renters are now entering into debt to their landlord. Tens of thousands of people will be left trying to rebuild their lives while in huge amounts of debt. There will be an evictions crisis,” said a spokesman.