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CML bid to help tenants facing repossession

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has put its weight behind a campaign to offer better protection for tenants whose landlords face repossession.

The campaign, ‘Forgotten victims of repossession crisis’, has been launched by Shelter, Citizens Advice Bureau, Crisis and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The group wants to see a change in the law, which would mean courts would have the power to defer possession to allow the tenant to find other suitable accommodation.

As the law stands, most tenants whose landlords are repossessed have none of the legal rights that usually protect tenants from losing their homes without notice.

Shelter, CAB, Crisis and CIH have written to MPs urging them to sign an Early Day Motion calling for changes to the law to tackle the problem.

Members of the joint campaign are calling for the law to be changed to give courts the discretion to take into account the circumstances of sitting tenants where an outright possession order is granted, and defer possession for a limited period of time.

But the CML says it is important to distinguish between different types of landlords. It says most private landlords will often put in place a receiver of rent to accept the tenants’ rental payment for the lender when they face repossession.

It says the biggest problem is with landlords that do not tell the landlord they are renting out the property and are potentially acting fraudulently.

Michael Coogan, director general of the CML, says: “Good tenants should not be disadvantaged, and nor should lenders, by the irresponsible behaviour of a small minority of landlords. We look forward to working with the government and advice agencies on effective measures to help the modest number of tenants affected.”

Nick Pearson, director of external affairs at the Paymex Group, says: “People are predicting that rental properties could account for 20% of all repossessions in the next year. I think it is going to be a significant issue.”

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