We want to help – Recovering deferred rent?

by Readers Question

15:05 PM, 24th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

We want to help – Recovering deferred rent?

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We want to help – Recovering deferred rent?

We want to help our tenants in difficulty by giving them initially, a 3-month deferment of their rent. Not a gift or free ride – just no rent to be paid for 3 months, but then (assuming/hoping) things get back to normal, they make up the arrears along with their normal monthly rent payment.

My concerns are:
• The rent is £1500 per month so after a 3-month deferment they will owe £4500
• After these 3 months there will only be 4 months left of their tenancy agreement so how can I ensure that they don’t just disappear at the end, having only paid some or even none of the arrears?
• Is there an enforceable agreement available somewhere which I can use and that says they promise to pay back the arrears in return for being given a 3-month rent deferment?
• If it came to it, can I ask for their deposit to be released to me to help cover the arrears? It would be counter-logical for me to be owed rent while they get their deposit back and disappear

Many thanks

Jonathan



Comments

Gunga Din

12:22 PM, 25th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Given the rigidity of the deposit schemes, I would be surprised if there's any way the deposit can be released. Obviously it would be "available" at the end of the tenancy.

We have to be flexible, but balance this with the attitude that its primarily the tenants' responsibility to cover the rent. Few will have savings or families able to help. Keep your business head on, and assume that if given an inch they will take a mile. The possibility mentioned that they leave with massive rental debts is real, no matter how nice people they seem.

I'm not proactively offering my tenants concessions, rather waiting for them to ask me. I'll then remind them of their responsibilities, that I have mortgage payments etc., and that it'll be rent holidays/deferrals rather than being let off. I will then work something out to help them. Even in the worst case with no rent coming in, I'd rather they be responsible for utilities and council tax!

Dennis Leverett

12:45 PM, 25th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I agree with Gunga Din, policy no. 1 do nothing till you have to. If my tenants need help and have been through the motions of various government help schemes then I will do whatever I can to help them, but won't be volunteering it. Theoretically most should be able to cover their rent with the available help, but its how quickly they get it which will be the problem.

gfs properties

1:49 AM, 26th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

what if any are the government schemes that can help my tenants just now..

Rob Crawford

9:06 AM, 26th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I would suggest you encourage them to continue paying rent and if they struggle financially to set up a paypal account that gives them upto four months credit. This saves you having to chase any deferred rent. An idea suggested by lettingsupermarket.com's Chris Sheldon in a previous string.

Jonathan

9:32 AM, 26th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I've discovered a partial solution to my original query but with particular reference to the use of the deposit on the TDS website where they've just set up a FAQ resource divided into sections on pre, post and end tenancy. https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/covid-19/

Thanks to everyone for their interest and comments

jonr

9:15 AM, 28th March 2020
About A week ago

I'd be happy to help my tenants where it is needed but by giving a 3 month deferral of all or part of their rent I feel that I'd be offering a financial services service in addition to a home and shelter service.

As the government are underwriting 80% of loan losses to big financial institutions supporting covid stress I feel they should offer the same to landlords extending a line of credit to their tenants so we'd agree a repayment plan with them and if they defaulted on that then 80% of our losses would be covered by government.

We are all in this together...

Heather G.

15:09 PM, 1st April 2020
About 4 days ago

Sorry to be a pedant but as far as I understand it, the rent deferment is only for the mortgage portion of the rent, not the whole rent ie if rent is £1000pcm and mortgage is £400pcm, the tenants should still pay the £600.

jonr

16:39 PM, 1st April 2020
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Heather G. at 01/04/2020 - 15:09
Thanks for the clarification - I'd not understood that!

That could make a lot of sense...

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