The COVID-19 evictions ban has been extended again until May to support tenants facing rent arrears. But with pandemic restrictions now being eased and Government support coming to an end, some tenants will inevitably find themselves with rent to pay that they can no longer afford.
A rental agreement is a legal contract, so if you are trying to cope with too-high monthly payments, never simply walk away and hope your landlord won’t catch up with you. Rent owing will be pursued and you could find yourself in court.
But help may be at hand. There is now a product on the market that is being promoted as a way to help tenants – and landlords – avoid this situation. It’s a new social platform called Break Your Lease, and it’s been developed to help those wanting to get out of their lease to find someone in need of housing to replace them. This prevents the landlord from having to find a new tenant and could help you move on ASAP.
It works like this. Users list the lease they want to leave and can then find a suitable replacement to take up their agreement from a world-wide database of registered users within the app. Break my Lease is already up and running in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and the USA and it’s now available in the UK on the App Store or via GooglePlay. The platform has clearly hit its target market because the company claims a million people have already downloaded the app.
However, a word of warning. Break my Lease is clear that both the existing renter and the landlord need to be party to any new arrangement and that potential tenants need to be vetted. Never consider simply sub-letting your rental to another person – and especially one you have found via a social media platform – without talking to your landlord first. They may be happy for you to move out and have an ‘oven-ready’ tenant to replace you either short or long term - but they may not. They will certainly want to carry out all the usual checks to ensure the person you have hooked up with via the app is suitable to rent their property. So yes, this app could be a lifesaver – but always speak to your landlord first before even considering offering your tenancy to someone else.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
(Weekly, fortnightly or monthly)