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How can landlords and tenants work together during COVID-19?

The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruptions worldwide, with many people struggling to make ends meet due to a change in their financial situation.

While homeowners are able to take a mortgage payment holiday, those who are renting don’t have the same opportunity, despite them potentially being in no better position to make their monthly payments.

For landlords, this can also be a difficult time, as the income that they rely upon from their properties may not be guaranteed now. There have even been cases of tenants calling for a rent strike, meaning that landlords may be without money that they are entitled to.

However, rather than this difficult time causing a rift between landlord and tenants, now is the time to work together to make the best of the current situation. And here are some ways we recommend you do that…

1. Communicate

It’s crucial for both parties to communicate with each other openly and fairly. Not only will this ensure that everyone is on the same page, but it’ll also help to reduce uncertainty.

Tenants

If you’re unable to make your rent payments, it’s important to discuss this with your landlord as soon as possible, rather than stopping your payments. If they don’t know that you’re struggling, how can they help you?

Landlords

Listen to your tenants and offer help wherever possible. Be understanding and sympathetic; while your situation is difficult, so is theirs. You should also let them know how the situation is affecting you, and make your expectations known in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

2. Be proactive

Doing nothing won’t improve the situation, so be proactive and take steps to minimise the impact that COVID-19 has on your home or rental income.

Tenants

If money is tight, there are many avenues to explore before resorting to nonpayment of rent. Reduce your non-essential spending, look for alternative work if possible, or, if you’re eligible, apply for Universal Credit (which has replaced Housing Benefits), the New Style Job Seekers Allowance or Council Tax Reduction. Your landlord will be more understanding if you explain that you’ve tried these other options before requesting a rent break or reduction.

Landlords

If you’re in a more comfortable situation, offer reduced rent or payment breaks. Tenants will be grateful for the help and will make the effort to repay owed monies as quickly as possible. You can also contact your lender to apply for a mortgage holiday of up to three months if your income is affected, taking some of the stress away from you and your tenants.

3. Support each other

Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way or another, and we all have a lot more on our plate than we’re used to. It’s therefore essential that we support each other as much as possible.

Tenants

While your circumstances are important, your landlord also has other responsibilities, so be reasonable with your expectations. Yours may not be their only property, and they may be struggling if letting agents and property management companies have closed or are running on skeleton staff.

Landlords

Remember that you’re dealing with real people and their families who are struggling through massive uncertainty. Give your tenants the benefit of the doubt and make concessions where you can.

Need advice about rent during COVID-19?

If you’re not sure how to handle your rent during the current pandemic, we're here to help.

Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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