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Covid-19: New rent payment plan tool to ‘help landlords not get left behind’

A new rent payment plan tool has been launched for landlords and tenants to agree a rent payment plan for arrears accrued due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new online portal, Resolve by flatfair, gives landlords a tool to assist them in obtaining proof of hardship, provide a date stamped correspondence, and help them to agree on a clear plan which the tenant has to stick to.

Any landlord, not just those who use flatfair’s deposit alternative product, can sign up for Resolve free of charge, helping to mediate fairly with their tenants before any kind of eviction proceedings can move forward post coronavirus.

Landlords who mediate with their tenants before any serious issues arise, will be in a much stronger position in the coming months.

A landlord who has or expects properties to fall into rent arrears can request their tenant upload proof of financial distress, such as a redundancy letter, onto Resolve. The landlord can then review these documents before proposing a payment plan over the portal which the tenant can accept or reject. 

Once the payment plan is agreed, both parties sign the plan electronically on the platform. Tenants can also flag for free to their landlord that they are in financial distress by using the platform; however, only landlords can propose rental payment plans.

By recording and documenting everything online for the landlord and tenant regarding the reaching of an agreement for a payment plan, Resolve will give both landlords and tenants a centralised and independent record of their agreement.

Franz Doerr, founder and CEO of flatfair, commented: “As the disruption caused by Covid-19 started to mount across the rental sector, we knew we had to build something that would help landlords not get left behind. I’m delighted that we are able to launch less than two months after we started, which is a credit to the entire flatfair team’s hard work. 

“This is a very uncertain time for landlords, most of whom work extremely hard to provide a good home to their tenants, and now see their livelihood put at risk. 

“Resolve will give landlords certainty that they can simply arrange a rental payment plan online with their tenants and electronically sign a legally binding agreement with everything clearly documented.”

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    My Tennant has been furloughed he lives with 2 others who haven't been furloughed. He has asked for a reduction in rent. We have asked for proof of income before the furlough so that we can work out what his percentage loss of income is ( he earned more than £2500 per month ) but he says he doesn’t want to give us this information. Am I being unreasonable asking for this information and if so how else do I work out what to cut the rent by.... thank you for any advise

    Matthew Payne

    The 2 that havent been furloughed are joint and severally liable for the rent anyway, so it is a conversation he should be having with them not you, as they as a collective have a repsonsibility to pay the whole rent, it doesnt matter how they have agreed to split it. If he is short, it is for them to pick up any shortfall not ask for a reduction for his share.

     
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    he can leave?

     
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    Tell them all they won't be allowed to stay after the lease end date if the rent is even a penny in arrears then. The other two can then use peer pressure on the furloughed guy or make up any shortfall. Come to think of it, just put them out anyway and make sure that they know why.

     
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    Hard to tell and sorry if I'm being a bit thick. Obv you are being sarcastic but just wondered are you suggesting that i'm being unreasonable to ask for the info or is my tenant being unreasonable not giving it. I truly don't know which

     
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    So Sebastian i'd really like to know how much you think I should reduce the rent by or how to do the calculation. I don't know how much my tenants earning were before the furlough because he has been a tenant for 5 years and changed jobs since then. I'm trying to get a consensus of opinion here

     
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    Being a bit of a prat again Seb ??

     
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    You are not being unreasonable at all. When a tenant wants a property surely an income check is normal. So, pray tell me what the difference is now. MP is correct, as is SB to a degree but why would you want to solve someone else's problem?
    The answer is no.
    But be aware of the different types of no. There is no not now which is given out in a message something like - let me think about it, which is no not now. Whereas no as a direct answer to the question is no not ever. DO NOT use the former only the latter.
    Hope this helps you BR.

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    Just had another thought BR go back to the tenants employer and ask the question regarding income on a basis that another property is sought by the said tenant and you just need to update your records accordingly.
    If you tell me you did not do a finance check then tough cookie baby you are on your own and should suffer the consequences of shoddy work practice.

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    Hi Beth
    You’ve posted on here looking for support. As fellow landlords especially in this time we should be doing that. This is our plan parts of which has been advised to me by other experienced landlords/agents.

    If a tenant calls to notify or doesn't make payment we go through this procedure.

    First thing we do is ask them to fill out an the expenditure form & return the SAME DAY

    After receiving we then make another call & ask for 3 months bank statements & 3 months wage slips.

    If they are claiming self isolation or sickness then a medical cert is needed.

    We then call them and say first thing that will be accepted is a reasonable food bill then its the rent. If they are getting furlough money then they can easily afford and the expenditure form demonstrates this. Everything else can be part payed, stopped, deferred etc. They can apply for payment holidays for loans. Credit cards. Catalogue debt.


    They can also defer their Council tax This saves them an easy £100 per month & I've been advised could be written off in the future.

    If a tenant refuses to fill out a form or give the bank/wage details then this is considered unauthorised arrears. The landlord will serve a Section 21 & a Section 8 if arrears occur and go for CCJ. They will definitely be living elsewhere next year without doubt. All letting agents & landlords in the county will be notified by the landlord of this tenant!!

    When it comes to a reference in future we have to be honest and tick the box that says yes rent arrears. The computer generated reference will not recognise corona debt.

    Unauthorised arrears will attract interest at Bank Interest + 4%.

    We have found once we are in discussion with the tenant the rent is then paid as they are meant to be getting 80% furlough. A lot of them were trying it on either by thinking the gov has advised this or certain organisations have advocated this. If a tenant comes to us before we go to them and asks for help then we arrange something. We will work with them and look after them. They don't have to worry re their tenancy.

    To summarise food is first then its rent then its whatever tenant wants to pay. We are not messing around

    In your case Beth if there are joint tenants then they are severely liable. Same process to them. If they refuse to comply then quite simply they will learn the hard way

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    Thank you very much indeed this is really useful

     
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    Would appreciate some advice on this situation. We have a tenant with terrible payment history, late or partial payments 12 times in 18 months. Every excuse under the sun why late or why can't pay in full. They have been given multiple chances and our agent whilst chasing daily when they are late says nothing can be done. Tenants refused to sign a new lease so on periodic, have played hardball when inspection due etc. When COVID hit she straight away closed her business and then claimed poor. Because of all of the stress we advised the agents we wanted to sell. Tenant went mental on that news, really not happy about the situation! We luckily managed to get a S21 notice in (despite useless agent) one day before the emergency changes. Agent though advises the tenant cannot be evicted now in any case, or at least can simply chose to ignore our s21 because there is nothing we can do to enforce it.

    Basically we are at our wits end with these guys. Situation isn't helped by the fact we are overseas so is difficult shopping round for a new agent who would be better able to handle our problem tenants. We just want rid of both tenant and agent to be honest!

    Any thoughts, comments, suggestions on this situation. Thanks.

    Simon D

    Contact Landlord Action for advice, they specialise helping landlords with cases like this.

     
    Matthew Payne

    I have used Dutton Gregory sols many times before, they specalise in tenancy law and currently advise ARLA and their members. If you are stuck with your current agent, and you are overseas, then probably prudent to get someone involved. Will be cheaper than no rent for the next 12 months while you try and get her out yourself.

     
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    There are some really good agents out there, then of course there are the chocolate tea pots ' generally best to avoid the big nationals as most of their staff are still wet behind the ears.

     
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    Sympathies....It is a terrible legal system that has got you to this place.

     
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    Hi Chris
    My advice would be to always get rid of problematic tenants. Ones that cant pay on time fit into this category.
    Landlord Action is good or a solicitor that specialises in eviction and tenancy law.
    Have you got someone friends/family that can help you in this country?
    A problematic tenant must understand that there is a consequence to their actions or lack of

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    Totally agree. There are plenty of decent tenants out there - no need to tolerate the rent dodgers who are stopping decent tenants from getting better homes - something Shelter, Seb etc. can't grasp.

     
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    Hi,

    Needing some advice. One of my tenants has been made redundant and they have asked for rental help. What is the best approach? Do I work out a revised rent and then agree a payment plan with them to payback the remaining amount? Can said amount be taken from the deposit at the end of the rental term? I can arrange a payment holiday for 3 months, but what happens if they still have problems in paying after that 3 months? Can I serve notice to end the tenancy? I believe this is currently set to a 6 month period - do I prepare to do that now? I do want to help them and will, but equally need to ensure I have problems myself with mortgage payments. I also know they will not end up homeless. Help and advice appreciated.

    Matthew Payne

    Lots to cover there Elizabeth and there are multiple options available to you subject to understanding more detail about the tenancy/tenants. By all means get in touch directly if you want to go through.

     
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    If it was me, I would very quickly prepare all the necessary documentation to get a CCJ against them. Be prepared though that even if you get all that together there is still a 6 month notice period that you will have to give them before eviction.

    It might even be a bit longer if the courts continue to drag their very lazy feet.

    For sure, your tenants will not pay you for those months.

    It is also very likely too, that from now on if they are redundant, that you will not get a penny from now on for rent or pay back agreement cash.

    You will also have to pay legal costs to get the CCJ and thern get it implemented.

    I would also suggest that you will never see any cash from a supposed repayment scheme.

    My advice is to prepare from NOW. Starting TODAY.

    Any longer and all that will happen is you will get no rent whilst they continue to live in your property for at least 6/7/8/ months so you will be losing a lot more than you imagine. And there is nothing you can do about it.

    I might be wrong, and they might be reallly genuine and pay you everything they owe. That will need to be your judgement call.

    But in the current environment, I would suggest you have to do everything you need to do is to be done now, as it is more than likely they will screw you, because the law allows them to do so.

    GOOD LUCK. I sympathise with you.

     
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