We had previously reported about groups gathering proposing a rent strike and suggesting not paying rent for 3 months.
This seems to have now become into rumours spreading (around those who want to listen and believe it) that tenants shouldn’t pay rent for three months.
We’ve also noticed an increase in communication to us about this situation so we just wanted to do a quick note in respect of this.
Government guidance is absolutely clear that rent payments continue to be payable during this coronavirus pandemic.
In the most recent guidance for landlords and tenants, the very first paragraph 1.1 says:
1.1 As a tenant, should I stop paying rent during the outbreak?
Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The government has a strong package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.
In many if not most cases, the COVID-19 outbreak will not affect tenants’ ability to pay rent. If your ability to pay will be affected, it’s important to have an early conversation with your landlord. Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due and you should discuss with your landlord if you are in difficulty.
It’s the same for all other contractual liabilities such as gas, electricity, suppliers etc.
The government has specifically introduced lots of measures for assisting people to pay the rent and other bills including:
- opening up universal credit to more people
- if employed, paying 80% wages up to £2,500 per month
- if self-employed, paying 80% average last 3 years self assessment returns.
As the guidance referred to earlier clearly says, all their measures are intended to ensure tenants can keep up with their rent:
In many if not most cases, the COVID-19 outbreak will not affect tenants’ ability to pay rent.
Although we already had templates to respond to a query from a tenant about three months rent holiday, we have added another template which directly responds to a specific question on this particular point and provides links to guidance about rent continuing to be payable and links to get help in paying. The template also explains that the mortgage holiday isn’t a holiday at all and is just a deferral resulting in an increase in premiums after three months.
You can find this template and our others here (this particular template is at the bottom at the time of writing and before others are added).