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

  1. Communicate

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.

  1. Establish

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.

  1. Signpost

Landlords should provide details about benefit entitlement and debt management services, such as Citizens Advice and Shelter.

  1. Agree

Seek to agree an affordable payment plan, based on the tenant’s circumstances.

  1. 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.

  1. Consent

Where the tenant is claiming benefits, see if it’s possible for the payment of any housing element to the landlord.

  1. Guarantors

If there’s a guarantor in place, actively involve them in discussions with tenants regarding payment of rent.

  1. Mediate

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.

  1. Record

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.


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