What if my tenant cannot pay rent during Coronavirus?

Thursday, April 9, 2020

What if my tenant cannot pay their rent during the Coronavirus?

The first thing to understand here is that tenants are contractually obliged to pay all their rent as prescribed in their ASTs on the agreed dates.

Having said that the Government is aware that many tenants fall into the demographic of those impacted the quickest by the Coronavirus, such as retail, hospitality and private vehicle hire and have therefore released updated guidance for landlords and tenants to cover most day to day aspects. Should your tenant be unable to pay their rent, then the government’s advice includes, as follows:

-          It’s important that landlords offer support and understanding to tenants who may start to see their income fluctuate.

-          This can include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period and instead accept a lower level of rent or agree a plan to pay off arrears later.

At Stones Residential we have taken advice from the UK’s governing bodies as to how the above is interpreted and what we are clear that while you are not legally obliged to enter into a temporary rent reduction or partial rental deferral program, it is important to note the following:

If a tenant goes into arrears and a landlord decides not to negotiate or enter it an effective dialogue with that tenant, it could be a considerable amount of time before they are able to evict the tenant from the property. Currently, the earliest a landlord might be able to evict a tenant by will be December 2020 though we expect this to be delayed further.

Currently all notices (including Section 8,10,11 and 21) served on tenants in the UK have a new, 3-month timeline on them. The Government has prevented any court in the UK from beginning to process an application for eviction until 30th September and this date may be extended.

It is understood that applications to evict tenants which are received after 30th September will have a minimum of an 8-week turnaround.

At this time, we cannot stress the importance that if you are a landlord with a tenant who is unable to pay all or part of their rent then we are strongly advising to enter into meaningful dialogue and to allow us to process and negotiate this effectively for you.

We are well positioned to do this as the team at Stones are attending almost daily training and updates on best practice, legislation and how we can ensure you are receiving some rent as opposed to no rent. We are doing this using webinars, online tutorials and reading and staying up to date with all the guidance the Government is making available to agents.

If you have any concerns about your own property or tenant, then please contact us today on 020 8954 0045 or stanmore@stonesresidential.co.uk