The coronavirus crisis has brought considerable pressure on everybody, including tenants and landlords. Many have been able to weather the storm by coming to agreements over how rent is to be paid. It is important that this continues to sustain tenancies.
New rules have been brought in to protect tenants and landlords, and courts will consider the impact that the coronavirus may have had. The NRLA has produced a guide that sets out what the parties should do, before considering repossession.
The nine golden rules for rental disputes
Tenants and landlords need to discuss any unpaid rent as soon as possible. Landlords need to understand how tenants have been affected by coronavirus, and how a payment plan can help to repay those arrears.
Establish whether the tenant may be considered vulnerable – if they’re disabled or a single parent, for example – as local authorities may also give advice.
Seek to agree an affordable payment plan, based on the tenant’s circumstances.
- Be clear
Landlords should provide clear rent statements for three-month periods – or 13-week periods, if rent is paid weekly – showing any temporary reductions in rent or deferred payments.
Where the tenant is claiming benefits, see if it’s possible for the payment of any housing element to the landlord.
If there’s a guarantor in place, actively involve them in discussions with tenants regarding payment of rent.
If you can’t initially agree, an independent mediator could help resolve your differences without the time and cost of taking a possession case to court.
Landlords should keep copies of all documentation and a record of all contact with tenants, and give this information to the court should proceedings be necessary.