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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Let us live rent-free until virus ends, activists tell landlords

A campaign group is urging its members to write to landlords asking them to “suspend” rent demands until the Coronavirus crisis ends.

The London Renters Union has even created a template letter that is suggests is used by tenants to make their case.

On its website the union claims: “The government hasn’t taken any action to suspend rent payments. While landlords are being given a mortgage holiday, huge numbers of renters who are losing their incomes will soon be clocking up huge amounts of debt in rent arrears.”

It then says “Renters need to stick together and get organised” and includes the template for the letter in English and, without any explanation, in Spanish too. 

Here is the English version, complete with the coaching comments to encourage renters to give personal details of their circumstances:

Dear X

We're watching developments about COVID-19 very closely and are, as you might imagine, really concerned. We rely on our wages to pay our rent and we’re going to be earning much less over the coming months.

[add more details about your work/wage situation - make it as personal as you feel comfortable to.]

There are plenty of landlords who are worried about the containment of Covid-19 and are therefore allowing their tenants to suspend rent payments at this time. The advice from public health experts is that as many people as possible need to stay at home - and not go out and seek non-essential work - in order to successfully contain the virus, reduce the number of people dying and to ensure that the health service that we all rely to survive, isn’t completely overwhelmed.

Recently published Government guidelines state that as part of our “national effort” to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak it’s “important that landlords offer support and understanding to tenants who may start to see their income fluctuate” and that this should “include accept[ing] a lower level of rent”. 

It also states that “where tenants have difficulty paying rent over this period, we ask that landlords do not issue a notice seeking possession, particularly given that the tenant may be sick or facing other hardship due to COVID-19”.

As you will have heard, the government has announced a three month mortgage holiday for all landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus - so that they can pass this “holiday” on to their tenants. With millions of renters across the country in a difficult position, the government and the National Residential Landlords Association are asking landlords to show compassion. For these reasons, we kindly request a suspension of payments until the situation improves.

[You should work out what you can afford to pay in rent over the next 3-6 months once you have met your basic needs such as food and medicine. You could start by offering what you can afford to pay.]

We hope, for ourselves and for everyone's sake, that life becomes more stable as soon as possible. Until then, it seems all we can do is be pragmatic, avoid panic, and support each other as best we can. We hope you can consider this. 

Do let us know if speaking on the phone would be helpful.

Looking forward to hearing your response. Best wishes from us all.

 

 

  • James B

    Are they campaigning for free food from Tesco and free petrol from shell ? Or just don’t want to pay their rent
    If they are getting the government support are they just going to trouser that ?

  • icon

    ..sorry, no words for this!

  • Roger  Mellie

    Maybe I can send this to my mortgage lender and get them to wipe the debt off because my tenant doesn't fancy paying the rent.

  • icon

    THESE PEOPLE JUST DONT GET IT , A LANDLORDS PAYMENT HOLIDAY ISNT A HOLIDAY THAT MONEY IS STILL OWED AND INTEREST DUE TO THE BANK .SO WHY SHOULD A TENANT NOT PAY ANYTHING ?? "TENANTS WILL GET INTO MASSIVE DEBT" ......!! BANKS ARENT WAIVING MORTGAGE PAYMENTS FOR LANDLORDS JUST ADDING THE DEBT TO THE ALREADY LARGE DEBT THEY ALREADY HAVE .

    tHERES NO SUCH THING AS A FREE MEAL

  • jeremy clarke

    Going to be a lot of tenants with county court judgements against them in a few months. No rent paid = no reference = take them to court/money online = CCJ = no credit or future tenancies for many years. Not so clever now are they!

    Barry X

    One of many problems is that if/when so many have CCJs they won't mean so much anymore so they get devalued too.

     
    Ingrid Mott

    Tenants are a majority population, leaders want their votes..
    We landlords will have to fork the bill yet again. I guaeantee we wont get oyr rents back - and corona fall out will be exempt from Court proceedings WE landlords have no voice. Its time we stood as one and together, promised a MASS EVICTION DAY when this is over and 3 million tenants owe 6 months rent.

     
  • icon

    A lot of tenants are on benefits so they have no excuse. The tenants that are working are being paid 80% of their wage and have fewer outgoings due to shops and restaurants being closed so they have no excuse either. I can see the courts being really busy if any tenants follow the advice of this letter!

  • icon

    Once again this shows a complete lack of understanding of the rental market and the position the majority of landlords are in. We don't all own 800 houses and live in a mansion. Most landlords have one or two properties to try and supplement their income/retirement so that they are not a burden on the state.

  • Paul Singleton

    If they’re on 80% of their regular income and not spending like they usually do such as petrol/meals out/drinks out/taxi fares/haircuts etc they should have plenty of money to pay the rent surely? Alternatively offer to pay 80% worst case scenario? Or am I missing something here?

    Matthew Payne

    The enforced savings by the pandemic are actually quite considerable, tracker mortgages are down, no commute, no expensive lunches and coffees, no gym memberships, no kids clubs or school lunches, even Sky Sports is free. Chuck it all in a spreadsheet and it adds up to quite a meaningful amount.

     
  • Charlotte  Dyer

    Landlords are not being ''given'' anything they have to jump through hoops and prove various things before they are even considered eligible for these breaks and even then the payment is just deferred so at worst the tenants would not be entitled to free rent but perhaps a deferred payment scheme not dissimilar to a Landlord. Prove you are in financial difficulty (there are a lot of tenants and landlords unfortunately that would take advantage of this situation despite not being adversely affected) i.e. made redundant, furloughed and then a discussion can take place with a productive way to move forward. I would agree that if someone has been furloughed, then they should be able to pay 80% of the rent with the remaining 20% being deferred but still payable.

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