A kinder way to deal with tenants who are not paying rent

A kinder way to deal with tenants who are not paying rent

10:03 AM, 6th July 2021, About 3 years ago 26

Text Size

When faced with non-paying tenants, most landlords tend to think of eviction.  However, this is a dreadful solution just now:

For landlords, it means a stressful and often expensive court claim, which could take up to a year or more to complete, during which time most tenants will fail to pay anything at all. Then, once they have the property back, they have all the bother of finding a new tenant.

For tenants, the situation can be absolutely catastrophic.  In most cases, their credit record will be wrecked meaning that they will find it very hard to find anywhere else to live. They may be even forced to live on the streets.

However, there is a better and kinder way. This involves helping tenants to source alternative funding.  This could be

  • Checking their benefit to make sure they are receiving their full entitlement.
  • Checking their Local Authority to see what support is available, and
  • ·Applying for grant aid.

It is not often realised that there are thousands of charitable trusts and organisations with funding available to help tenants in need.

For example:

  • Tenants who have been in the military may be able to get help from SSAFA
  • Tenants with children may be able to get help from Children in Need, and
  • Tenants who have been in prison may be able to get help from Unlock

However, these are just some of the best known organisations.  Many others will help:

  • Tenants who have worked in a particular industry.
  • Tenants who live in a particular part of the country, or
  • Tenants who suffer from some form of illness or disability
  • And so on

In order to help landlords and letting agents, Julie Ford of Gothard Rowe (who specialises in this work) and I have collaborated to create a special kit – the Helping Tenants in Arrears Kit – with step-by-step guidance and video help.

Julie did a presentation earlier this year to my Landlord Law members describing her methods of helping tenants in arrears, and we were all blown away by it.  However, Julie cannot help all the thousands of tenants in need on her own.  I decided then that the best way to make this knowledge available would be to create a special kit giving step-by-step guidance.  Happily, Julie was willing to collaborate and disclose all her secrets to me (well most of them!).  So the kit was created.

Although this is a paid product (Julie and I need an income too!) I believe it will be of enormous value to landlords – and more importantly their tenants.

It seems senseless to go through the awful process of getting a Court Order for possession when there is an alternative which will be so much better for both landlord and tenant.”

Share This Article


Monty Bodkin

10:55 AM, 6th July 2021, About 3 years ago

"When faced with non-paying tenants, most landlords tend to think of eviction."

No they don't, they try and work with the tenant to get the rent paid.

Eviction is the last resort.


9:31 AM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Such a kit may be a well meaning gesture but it is the response of the statutory support bodies that needs addressing to produce an effective response in times of tenant need.

Bring told by the health services that because your tenant is not trying to kill themselves everything is fine. Being told by housing support at the council the tenant needs to be evicted before they can assist. Being told by mental health charities that if there is not a crisis they cannot help or the tenant must approach them. None of these responses will help a tenant irrespective of whatever help pack you buy. A fundamental policy review is necessary at national level in order order to protect the vulnerable.

Michael Bond

10:19 AM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

The first part of the message assumes that all landlords are idiots. Of course we talk to tenants in arrears and try to sort it out with them long before the problem breaks the surface. I have doubts about the practicability of then trying to find a specialist or local charity which might help the tenant. There are potentially hundreds of these. Is this the problem the presentation addresses?

Adrian Alderton

10:53 AM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Good idea as many tenants just need a helping hand to get through a crisis. When i worked in Local Auth Housing years ago we were always looking for financial or other support agencies which sometimes proved successful. SSAFA for example were always very good and very occaisionally social services but lets not go there.

Richard Adams

11:35 AM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Any tenant who is a decent responsible person would hopefully be doing what the kit suggests anyway to address their rent arrears. Suggesting ex service tenants approach SSAFA is poor advice. Far better to approach the Royal British Legion, the leading ex service charity. Call free 0808 802 8080 8am to 8pm seven days a week. SSAFA don't have much money and for most welfare cases they handle they come to the Legion for the cash which they of course have.

Chris @ Possession Friend

13:12 PM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Good business sense is ' never miss an opportunity in a crisis ' or put another way, ' Run with the Foxes and the Hounds '
( Purport to be a landlord service and seek revenue from collaboration with Tenant debt service providers )
Tessa, Landlords need Income, as well as you - which is why they have to use all the poor Civil processes available and being rapidly withdrawn by this Government. The PRS is being used as Pseudo-Social Housing without Landlords consent and by coercion. After all the Tax snatches ( sec 24 ) and the Regulations, Penalties, Licensing etc, there just isn't any room left for a majority of single or low-number of property Landlords to be the Governments 'Good Samaritan'
I think I'd agree broadly with Monty and Michael's comments.

Tessa Shepperson

14:14 PM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Apologies if the wording implied that landlords were being stupid. Obviously, they are not and obviously, landlords will want to avoid court action if they can.

And of course, Government should step up to the plate and provide support to landlords and tenants. However, they have (shamefully in my view) not done so. Leaving both landlords and tenants in a difficult position.

This kit was developed after Julie Ford did a presentation to my Landlord Law members about her methods - and it was clear from the reaction to her talk that sourcing grant aid was something many landlords had not thought of and also that they were not aware of the amount of grant aid 'out there'. This is why we developed the kit.

Whether or not you decide to help your tenants source grant aid to pay off your arrears and help with rental payment ongoing is obviously up to you. But isn't it worth a punt? If you are successful the problem could be resolved within a couple of months rather than having to wait a year or more to get vacant possession through the courts.

The kit is all about how to help tenants source funding to pay off their arrears and pay their rent (or where appropriate find alternative accommodation). It is a step by step guide. If you take a look at the sales page https://landlordlaw.co.uk/sales-helping-tenants-in-arrears-kit/ you can see six examples of the sort of help the kit can help you source. If you are successful then it will be a win-win situation for both landlords and tenants.

Paul Essex

14:22 PM, 7th July 2021, About 3 years ago

These are all great organisations trying to do the right thing, however I have found from experience that there is rarely a single crisis.

Crises are so often related to substance abuse, poor financial control or even just a chaotic lifestyle.

As a small landlord it has been very difficult with such tenants in the past and it is wrong to expect us to be a social worker. I wonder just how many of those helped find themselves in the same position just a few months down the line.


12:58 PM, 9th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 06/07/2021 - 10:55
We do need to bear in mind this is effectively a marketing article, and therefore needs a heavy-hitting headline. But its target audience is landlords, who know exactly how they have tried so hard to help their tenants, and not just during the pandemic.

I wonder of the kit includes guidance on how to 'help' feckless tenants.

I've exhausted all the avenues. One single mother was appalled at being made redundant. She'd never claimed a penny in her life and didn't know the system. We helped her and she hasn't missed a payment since March 2020. Another tenant; single self-employed young man with money in his pocket from working throughout the pandemic plus claiming every SEISS grant, simply decided to stop paying rent in March 2020. 15 months and £10,000 later and he will finally be evicted in 2 weeks.

There is just no helping idiots, and so he deserves every misfortune he encounters in trying to find decent accommodation (like he had) in the future.

Tessa Shepperson

13:05 PM, 9th July 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 09/07/2021 - 12:58
The kit is basically there to help you help the good tenants. There are many tenants, like your single mother, who have lost their income in the pandemic through no fault of their own.

I agree, some tenants won't be helped and are best out of your property. The solution to this problem is taking extra care when selecting tenants so you never rent to them in the first place!

1 2 3

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now