Government must give clear statement on rental payments

Government must give clear statement on rental payments

8:51 AM, 6th April 2020, About 2 years ago 63

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The NRLA are calling for a clear statement from government in response to campaigners’ calls for rent payments to be stopped during the coronavirus crisis.

More and more landlords are contacting the National Residential Landlords Association saying their tenants are under the impression they no longer have to pay rent as a result of the pandemic.

The association is now asking government to clarify its guidance; that rents should continue to be paid where possible.

Some tenants believe that because lenders have provided the option of a three month mortgage payment holiday to landlords, they should not pay rent for this period.

Groups including the National Union of Students are also campaigning for rent breaks for tenants.

While the NRLA believes flexibility is necessary during these unprecedented times, it is calling on the Government to better publicise its guidance that tenants must still meet their legal and contractual obligations where they can – including paying rent – to dispel any myths.

Speaking for the NRLA, its Chief Executive, Ben Beadle, said:

“The mortgage repayment holiday is only available for landlords who are struggling to make their payments because their tenants are unable to pay part or all of their rent as a direct result of the coronavirus and through no fault of their own. It is not an automatic payment holiday and landlords who successfully apply still have to make these payments later on. It is not a grant.

“What it does allow is that where a tenant is having genuine difficulty in meeting their rent payment because of a loss of income, landlords have much greater flexibility to agree a mutually acceptable plan with the tenant to defer the rent due.

“This is not a green light to tenants everywhere to stop paying their rent.”

Given that 94% of private landlords rent property out as individuals and 39% have reported a gross non-rental income of less than £20,000, many depend on the extra rental income for their livelihood. Without this rent many would be unable to continue letting property, leading to a housing supply crisis when the epidemic eases, particularly for students returning to university.

Tenants are able to make use of assistance provided by the Government to replace lost income if need be including through the Job Retention Scheme, increased housing support through the benefit system and maintenance loans which continue to be paid to students.

The NRLA has called on landlords to show as much flexibility with tenants as they are able to within their means and has been heartened by the many stories showing tenants and landlords pulling together at this difficult time. This has included landlords offering properties rent free for NHS workers where they afford to do so.


by Clint

17:52 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 11/04/2020 - 17:50Yes. But there has been no comment following that but am waiting to see if, I do get a reply.

by Freda Blogs

17:53 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 11/04/2020 - 17:43
Agreed that NRLA don’t seem to be doing much for us, but Larry and the Landlord’s Alliance have been remarkably quiet (on this site anyway) in the last few weeks, so I’m not sure which ‘approach’ you are thinking Larry has got right??

by Clint

17:55 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 11/04/2020 - 17:53
I did realise that we have heard very little from Larry recently but could this be that very few have taken up membership. He is probably fed-up of very little support.

by Bill irvine

18:08 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Hi Ahkan

Thanks for drawing my attention to the case you highlighted. However, I'm not so sure the situation is as clear cut as you imply.

If you read my posts, in various threads, here and elsewhere, I've never suggested landlords should alter the terms of their AST agreements with tenants.

In fact, if you read the post you've responded to, I cite the Government advice which suggests tenants, in most cases, should be able to pay their rent or, if not, make some contribution to the contractual figure and agree with their landlord how they intend paying the shortfall, so that the contractual figure is secured.

As you acknowledge, some tenants affected by COVID may have to wait weeks, maybe months, before they receive the promised financial help. If they genuinely have no or a significantly reduced income, would it not be reasonable to accept a lower figure, as payment to account and agree a suitable arrangement to pay the balance?


by Ingrid Bacsa

19:18 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 11/04/2020 - 17:43
If Larry Sweeny can get an open door for Landlords' rights, then I'm backing him. This is a winge but needs to be said.

That not one of our representative organizations were able to stamp out Section 24 when it was proposed is testimony to our decreasing depositon as land "lords" and we have long lost any power for a voice.

The government has increasingly enforced upon Landlords total responsibility for the safety, welfare and living standards of our tenants - whilst they, as the same time, have increasingly enforced their control over landlords and our finances, and removed any control we had in this lettings business.

So we are stuck as welfare and maintenance officers and key givers who have no say in the control of our business - probably the only business which permits theft (rent defaults) and vandalism (property damage), where the culprit is not criminalized and can legally remain on the premises way after the offences are committed. (Try that in Marks and Spencers!! Police are called for a few stolen groceries.)

On top of this, I understand that, if we own property in a "landlord licenced" area WE are also stuck with fines if our tenants repeatedly display anti-social behaviour outside of our property.

We are the easiest group for the government to control and to levy taxes and fines against because we are powerless to re-act, as a minority group. Both major political parties are set to gain votes from the renting majority population by restricting our scope of control, and gloating tenants enjoy the increasingly favourable terms granted to them.

I have had to moan, many tenants are fair and reasonable, but we certainly need stronger representation in this field where we are unable to just walk away from abuse and we lose every time it occurs..


by Clint

20:22 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ingrid Bacsa at 11/04/2020 - 19:18
Well put Ingrid. The one solution is to sell up and be free from this slave driven business with ever increasing draconian laws.

by Ingrid Bacsa

20:44 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Clint, Thank you for your comment But one must get out at the right time, as stated in my blog, one cant just walk away. In my case, i owe a lot in interest only mortgages, so its a waiting game now to see which way the market goes - if/when this nightmare ends.

Best regards

by akhan

21:23 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ingrid Bacsa at 11/04/2020 - 20:44
Tenants are able to apply for universal credit and ask for advance payment which includes the payment for rent usually within 7 days of submitting the application.

What I am stating is part payment or no payment of rent from tenants whilst they still are in occupation is not good consideration, and should not be accepted by the landlord. The law is very clear on this, if you refer to the High Trees case which is good law.

by akhan

21:41 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by akhan at 11/04/2020 - 21:23
Part rent payments are acceptable provided it is made clear to the tenant they will still be liable for the full outstanding balance for all shortfalls.

However , agreeing to part payment of rent that amounts to a promise to accept a smaller sum in discharge of a larger sum, if acted upon, is binding notwithstanding the absence of consideration under the concept of Promissory estoppel.

The lower rent despite the fact that the promise was unsupported by good consideration, would last until the tenants situation improved . In this scenario you could not recover the shortfall if you accepted 50% rent whilst the COVID was around as a waiver to encourage you tenant to pay.

The point I was making is it would be a dangerous road to travel, unless you can clearly spell out to your tenant that they are still responsible for the full rent whilst the Covid is around, and you have not agreed to accept part payments to discharge the full higher amount. It is only part payment of the months rents.
Hope this helps.

by Clint

22:16 PM, 11th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ingrid Bacsa at 11/04/2020 - 20:44Yes, I understand, there seems to be a trap in every way. I am a bit fortunate in that I have been in the business for a long time and have repayment mortgages so am not trapped in this respect but have made the decision to sell up and already have properties on the market.
I just feel it is better to get out before it is too late. It seems to me that the general consensus is to rob the landlords for as much as they possibly can.

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