The government has introduced a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus. With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home in the short-term.
However, private landlords can currently give all renters three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession.
But there are plenty of ways landlords and tenants can work together during the Covid-19 crisis to help avoid an eventual collision course.
Rent holidays have been highlighted as an option for many tenants during the Covid-19 crisis, but this possibility should be discussed with the landlord before any action is taken.
Both parties should assess what they can afford, and what they can offer to each other. During this negotiation, striking a balance is important, according to Joseph Fletcher-Hunt, a solicitor at Aaron & Partners.
He said: “Although tenants may not be able to afford rent in some cases, legally this alone is not reason enough to pause their lease obligations and withhold payment.”
Some landlords will have additional forms of security on their agreements from tenants, such as guarantors. Landlords are entitled to approach guarantors for assistance with arrears, costs, expenses and interest.
They may have the option of withdrawing funds from rent deposits to cover arrears and outstanding payments, leaving the obligation on tenants to ‘top-up’ the withdrawn fund. However, landlords could use the deposit to assist a tenant’s cash flow by deferring or waiving their obligation to repay the withdrawn amount.
This could work as a short term solution, but the parties need to consider the possibility of the deposit running out, as well as the viability of the tenant being able to repay at a later date.
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