Some rent is better than none so talking to your tenants about rent arrears makes sense
The eviction ban could be extended beyond lockdown, according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. So landlords hoping to replace renters in arrears with new tenants who can pay their rent on time are likely to be disappointed.
Anyone in rent arrears will not be forced out of their home as soon as the eviction ban is lifted. Instead, the Government is to develop what’s known as a “pre-action protocol” that will kick in when the ban is lifted to give renters “added protection”. The aim is to put a duty on the landlord to act in good faith and try and find other solutions to tackle arrears before starting eviction proceedings.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, Robert Jenrick explained that the new arrangements would apply at the end of the ban on evictions, which could be as soon as June but may be later in the year.
Right from the start of the evictions ban, landlords have been encouraged to engage with tenants facing financial problems due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Where possible, it makes sense to try to work out an affordable repayment plan so that renters can remain in their homes and landlords continue to receive at least some rent. This particularly applies where landlords are themselves benefitting from a mortgage payment holiday from their own lender. See our blog here to read what we think about this.
Our advice echoes what the Government is saying. The majority of landlords have good relationships with their tenants. Despite the lockdown, communication is vital. So why not reach out to your tenants, just to check-in on them, and let them know you are willing to discuss any problems they may have around their rental payments. Why go to all the hassle and expense of starting eviction proceedings further down the line, when a fair arrangement to pay back rent arrears could keep tenants in your rented property long-term?
When the ban was announced in March, it sparked fears that there would be a surge of repossession orders in June once it was lifted. But why get involved in legal action at all? Talking to your tenants may be all that’s needed.
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Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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