The government is protecting renters from eviction as a result of enacting the Coronavirus Act 2020, ensuring that anyone struggling with rental payments due to the coronavirus can apply for a three-month payment holiday, but this does not mean that tenants should not pay rent for this period.
The rules are clear, rent payments must be maintained where possible, and landlords are urging the government to make this point clear.
A growing number of landlords are contacting the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) saying their tenants are under the impression they no longer have to pay rent as a result of the pandemic.
The association is now calling on the government to clarify its guidance; that rents should continue to be paid where possible.
While the NRLA believes flexibility is necessary during these unprecedented times, it wants to see the government better publicise its guidance that tenants must still meet their legal and contractual obligations where they can - including paying rent.
The NRLA’s chief executive, Ben Beadle, commented: “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.”