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Wednesday 11th September 2019

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11:13 AM, 14th April 2020, About 2 years ago

Covid-19 rental advice given by University - Help?

We have been speaking to other student landlords and we are all seem to be in a similar situation. It pays to stand firm whilst showing sympathy for genuine cases.
The vast majority of students are not suffering any financial hardship as the government is still paying their grants and they are living at home so have reduced costs.
Student housing is a business and small private landlords are completely different to university accommodation and large providers, in terms of their resources.
I have some letter examples I can send you to send to tenants but I would write back saying that the last discount was your final offer and it needs to be accepted by them in writing within 7 days, say the discount will only be applied at the end of the tenancy when all rent is paid unless they provide evidence of financial hardship in which case they can agree to a payment plan. If any rent remains outstanding and they do not follow an agreed payment plan then you will go to court and follow the normal procedures.
Of course you want to help, if anyone has severe financial difficulties but they need to send you evidence, wage slips, bank statements etc. They also need to access the government help available to them. You could send them links for these. Also Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert has an excellent video I am told offering advice to students in which he makes it clear rent is still payable at the end of term.
Make it clear that you are carrying out all safety checks and maintaining the property as normal. Tell them there is no need to collet their possessions until the date the tenancy ends as the house is theirs until that date. Do not accept any return of the keys. Do not give any deposits back until the end of the tenancy. Let the tenancy run as normal. You are entitled to keep the deposits if they have not paid their rent. Keep a record of all correspondence and keep it to written format only if possible.
You might not want to go to court but nor will they or their guarantors.
We are offering an allowance of £300 per house for cleaning and small maintenance repairs if all rent is paid plus a reduction in energy bills if less energy has been used than the previous year.
Everyone needs to understand that most landlords do not own their property without mortgages, HMO's have high running costs, most landlords are reasonable but no-one walks into a shop and asks to take the goods away for free. Landlords should unite and the government has made it clear that tenants will still owe rent. They can only ask for a 3 month period without paying it, if you have applied for a 3 month mortgage holiday. We have been advised from doing this. If they do not pay it then they will still owe it at the end of the tenancy.
I hope that helps. It is a worrying time and as usual it is the landlords who are being portrayed as greedy, rich individuals when many offer fantastic safe accommodation and run it as a business. Many landlords I know are now suffering from financial hardship due to the Universities advice, it is time to change the narrative.... Read More