Put ourselves in the shoes of these kids?

by Readers Question

11:47 AM, 30th March 2020
About 8 months ago

Put ourselves in the shoes of these kids?

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Put ourselves in the shoes of these kids?

Hi. I’m sure this is a problem faced by many student let landlords, caused by the current climate. Many universities with on campus accommodation have released students from their contracts 3 months early as Unis are closed, so a lot of the students moved back home to study online.

However, students who have signed contracts with private landlords for 12 months to 30 June still have 3 months left, although some have already left the property. Some with guarantors.

Can these kids miss 3 months due to exceptional circumstances faced by the country?

I know legally they’ve signed, but this is exceptional times. As landlords, also put yourselves in the shoes of these kids, what do you reckon?

Steve


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Comments

Chris Bradley

7:31 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

As a landlord whose income is the rent they receive from the student let, I would suffer financial hardship without the rental income. There are no government handouts available to me.
Students are still recieving their student loan, so I approached my students to establish if any could not pay, in case they needed top ups from family. They have all left their property at the houses, as it was such short notice to vacate.
All students said they were able to pay and thankfully did not ask for rent holiday.
I did however offer them a 20% discount on the rent, so that I will try and survive on 80% income like many others.
They are still welcome to use the property and if they need to Isolate away from family at any time they will do.
Every landlords and students story is different.

SteveoA

9:59 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Bradley at 31/03/2020 - 07:31
I guessed this was the case. You were so lucky. Grants however are loans that need to be paid back, so indirectly these kids will suffer for something they didn’t have (3 month tenancy) and it wasn’t their fault. Those living on campus were let off the final quarter. They would also have to pay the tuition fees for this quarter although uni is shut. I understand there’s a petition going, if successful the government will look at refunding students final term’s fee and rent.

Chris Bradley

10:09 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by SteveoA at 31/03/2020 - 09:59
It would be difficult to refund final terms fees and rent, since the government do not have an infinite pot of money. If they tell Universities or landlords to refund then both would end with financial difficulties as university salaries have to be paid, landlords need to eat. I have two children with student loans and yes they have To be repaid if they earn over certain salaries, but loans are written of after 30years. In reality most students will only pay back a small prototion of their loans before they are written Off. It's difficult to be fair to everyone in these situations. My youngest is expecting to have to pay for her third term in halls, she hasn't been told not to pay, so not all universities are giving rent free periods.

Peter Lassman

10:13 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

I totally sympathise with students and private tenants at this time however, for us personally and many other Small Landlords like us as this is our only income if we have no rental income ours mortgage payments and regular service charges will not be met, we will personally lose apx £3500 a month on outgoings that have to be paid, a mortgage holiday is money that will and still needs to be repaid at some time when this is all over, this is effecting everyone and small businesses run by self employed people will be hit the hardest, apologies if this sounds harsh but we are all in this, everyone is being effected Students will either get an allocated Grade or finish the course at home and then go on to earn money to repay these loans as they would have done, Landlords will still have to repay their unpaid bills

Dancinglandlord

10:21 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by SteveoA at 31/03/2020 - 09:59The amount they have to pay back in the long run will differ no more from students of the year before and after, they have an extra 2 months holiday in effect all paid. They are almost all returning to the family home and as such face no extra expense. Some have remained to isolate themselves or shied family members. As the previous comment says, most have left their belongings rendering works or alternative uses not possible. I have a pregnant tenant in an HMO who is sharing with a difficult character and working people who share kitchens. I could put her in an empty student HMO but the students’ belongings are there. If they turn up one by one to collect them (as they should to maintain social distancing) this would not work for my pregnant woman. I agree that there will be some cases of parents facing difficulties (landlords perhaps!) if they are funding the student rent. In these cases I have said I will discuss each on a case by case basis. This occurs where the parents are higher earners. Where those earning over 50k are unable to get government help they will usually have sufficiently good credit to borrow. And if this lasts 3 months, most people on high income could get back on their feet quite quickly, especially considering no one can splash out on holidays for now (given some will have lost money spent on holidays booked - me included!) Those who have had their accommodation contracts terminated are fortunate. But the taxpayer still has to fund those assets somehow in the long run.
University tuition continues - in many cases online, which is the best that could be expected under the circumstances.

Collydriver

11:17 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Difficult time for all of us .
Lucky I left the student market 3 years ago.
The government advice sent out by property118 last week help me . I printed it and posted it to my portfolio. All now contacted me and agreed to pay 80 percent but have all been advise that rent will have to be made up.
Actually seeing a government advice letter awaken them to the real world and not social media telling them they got 9 month free rent.
Good luck to my fellow landlords
We taken the risks and we deserve to be paid but in these times please show charity where you can clearly see it is needed and you can offer it

Yvonne Francis

11:29 AM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Like all the Landlords here, I’m worried about my rent and how to fairly deal with this matter. Strictly speaking they have to prove financial damage due to the virus, and if you have a shared tenancy any one of them could be liable for the whole including guarantors if you have them, and then it is deferred rent and not rent free. My rent is due quarterly so it is not due until May, so I don't know what will happen with me. That said I am preparing to lose rent.

However my main concern is if the next tenancy will be taken up. Already the University where my students study has said they will continue online teaching in October. In a case on 118 another Landlord had difficulty getting a student to take up a new six month tenancy. One Landlord quoted Krell v Henry. This was a case in 1905 where a tenant signed a contract to rent in order to view the coronation and subsequently was released in court on the grounds that the coronation was cancelled. The flat was signed for because the landlord advertised the flat as a good viewing point. Does anyone else know anything about this case, and if it could apply? It could be questionable if the landlord let as student accommodation, especially with a statement like close to a University. Any thoughts anybody.

https://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/commercial-law/commercial-law-keyed-to-lopucki/performance/krell-v-henry-2/

Judith Wordsworth

12:08 PM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Student Loans have said that they will be sending out the students maintenance loan/grant as usual to students at the start of the summer term and which is to be used to pay their student accommodation rent

Martin

12:23 PM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

My Eldest was in the process of finishing her final year at Uni in London.
I saw the lockdown coming and pulled her out of her house 3 weeks ago.
What I didn't know was how long it would go on for, so like most students she has most of her belongings there and effectively is still in residence. I've made a point of paying her landlord as I believe it's the fair thing to do.
However as they are in a shared house with all bills paid and a weekly cleaner and now instead of 5 people living there, there is now just one.
With that in mind I have written to the landlord and requested that as their bills are now lower and the cleaner has been cancelled that there be a reduction in the rent to reflect their saving.
Hopefully they will play fair with me as I have with them.
We will wait and see.
To reply to Yvonne, if you are dogged enough you can find a legal precedent for pretty much anything ( I know this from experience when having to sue a surveyor). When presented with a legal precedent most Solicitors will advise you that it is better and cheaper to settle as it will probably cost more in the long run to fight it.
I don't know the case in question, but on the face of it, it does indeed look like it may have some bearing on student lets if schooling is cancelled through no fault of their own.
If you are really concerned my advice would be grit your teeth, huge pot of coffee and spend some serious hours googling to come up with a case that works the other way.
It is boring and laborious and when i won my case against the surveyor I probably spent 10 to 12 hours to find the example I wanted. This was over £1000. So to pay a Solicitor to research it wouldn't have been viable at between £250 and £500 an hour.

Dancinglandlord

12:56 PM, 31st March 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Yvonne Francis at 31/03/2020 - 11:29
The lockdown is almost certain to last 3 months and if things are still difficult re the predicted spread of Coronavirus maybe longer. We may be facing 6 months in total but no-one really knows. Assuming 6 months, this still allows for students to go back for teaching in October, so I personally think that an institution deciding to teach online from then on has jumped the gun. Of all the restrictions the government could lift, restarting schools and Universities would be some of the most likely. It's a lower risk group and has theoretically has a lower impact on virus spread than other measures, such as testing, from what I've read. Assuming testing does come online within 6 months and that seems a realistic assumption given the pressure to do so, then I think it is reasonable that we will see students back to college in October if not September. That however does leave a summer when tenants could be prevented from moving into their new rentals and those 3 months for me appear to be the most worrying. Students DON'T get paid by the government for this period and in some areas of the country landlords spread the cost of the property over the academic period rather than 52 weeks - is this the case in Nottingham? Here in Leeds most operate an even charging basis over the whole year and I can foresee a lot of problems getting rent over this period - even though there are contracts in place already from July. I'd have a lot harder time justifying charging rent in this situation, despite the losses I would incur. Has anyone got a cunning solution to this problem apart from keeping our fingers crossed that the lockdown is lifted before July?!

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