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How landlords and tenants can work together during the coronavirus pandemic

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

24 April 2020

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Landlords and tenants are being urged to work together to maintain rental contracts during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Property experts advise that under such stressful circumstances for both tenants and landlords, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open.

The government has put in place several measures to support tenants and landlords.

These include banning tenant evictions during the pandemic and offering landlords a three-month mortgage payment holiday.

Support for landlords and tenants

Landlords and tenants can support one another in accessing the schemes being offered.

For example, if a tenant is struggling to pay their rent as a direct result of coronavirus, they may be able to give their landlord the evidence needed to get a mortgage payment holiday.

This evidence could include documents from the tenant’s employer proving that they have lost their job.

Ask for evidence

Chris Norris of the National Residential Landlords Association said: “Where tenants are struggling to afford their rent, they should speak to their landlord as soon as possible.

“Where they have it, they need to provide something to confirm their difficulties, such as a letter from an employer or their Universal Credit journal.

“This information is also likely to be required if a landlord has to seek a mortgage payment deferral which will enable them to agree a rent deferral with a tenant.

“All cases are different and we are urging landlords to show as much flexibility as is within their means to provide.”

Buy-to-let mortgage payment holiday

A mortgage repayment holiday is only available to landlords who are struggling to make their payments because their tenants are unable to pay due to coronavirus, and through no fault of their own.

By working with a tenant, a landlord may be able to get the paperwork needed to prove that they need a mortgage payment holiday.

As such, it can be beneficial for tenants and landlords to keep open the channels of communication and help one another with their cash flow issues.

Speak to your lender first

Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPR Private Clients explained that a payment holiday can be invaluable in covering short-term cash flow issues.

But he added a word of caution, telling borrowers that they must discuss their options with their lender first.

He advised: “Speak to your lender first before making any decisions with regard to taking a payment holiday.

“Agree to a way forward and remember not to cancel anything until it has all been agreed, otherwise it could impact your credit rating, which could cause you issues long after we return to ‘normal’.”

Do you have tips for managing landlord-tenant rent negotiations during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section.

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