A poll of landlords by LandlordZONE has found the community divided on whether they should offer tenants relief from paying their rent if they catch Coronavirus or made redundant because of the related economic downturn.

Landlords are divided on whether to offer rent holidays for tenants following the Government’s radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by Coronavirus.

A LandlordZONE Twitter poll asking, ‘Landlords, would you give your tenants a rent holiday due to the impact of the Coronavirus?’ discovered that just over half – 52% – wouldn’t be offering this to tenants, while 48% would.

The latest Government announcement means there’s a freeze on new evictions and possession proceedings, but landlords do have the protection of a three-month mortgage payment holiday on buy-to-let mortgages where tenants are having financial difficulties.

Tenants around the country are now asking for reductions or breaks in rent payment, but landlord groups are warning that not everyone will have an inexhaustible capacity to cope with lost income. 

Chris Norris, National Landlords Association director, policy & practice, tells LandlordZONE that where landlords can access support, it’s recommending that these temporary savings are used to help struggling tenants through this difficult time.

But he adds: “We should not assume that landlords will be able to cover their costs if rent is not paid.”

Leicester Landlords Association is advising members to get as much documented information of employment as they can from a tenant, so together they can work out a payment plan while their income is reduced.

Chairman Tony Bhaur tells LandlordZONE: “We don’t know how many genuine cases there will be. We’re saying, I can live with the rent arrears, but you need to tell me how you’re going to repay it when your income is restored.”

And while the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) isn’t advocating that all landlords offer a rental holiday as all circumstances differ, policy manager John Stewart says landlords should be as flexible as possible where tenants are facing difficulties. 

“Many landlords and tenants are working well together with numerous positive stories coming to light of support being given to tenants in many ways.”

However, the RLA is also calling for further action to support tenants including scrapping the five-week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit and ensuring the Local Housing Allowance properly reflects rent levels.

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