We understand some renters are unable to work, for them and their families; it is a difficult time, financially and emotionally. Some renters are not able to pay the rent due to the lockdown. The rent arrears, in turn, is having a direct impact on our members, who have mortgages to service. Some rely on the rental income to live on.
Court action ought to be the last resort, renters and landlords should try to settle the issues between them amicably and avoid the tenant eviction process.
The British Landlords Association up to the 30th of September 2020 will financially assist all its 21,000+ members by paying the legal fees for drafting Pre-Action protocol, section 8 or 21 Notices.
The BLA “Coronavirus Financial aid” (CFA) for BLA members is through BLA appointed lawyers.
Help & support for UK landlords – CFA how does it work?
Help & support through the CFA is only available for existing members who joined on or before the 3rd of May 2020. The British Landlords Association only has limited funds to cover our existing members for this project. The project shall close on the 30th of September 2020. The CFA is not Government funded.
If any member needs to call on the CFA, we have made the process very simple and easy to use. You complete our short form below. The purpose of the form is to electronically verify your membership. Upon completing the form:
1. Your account will be verified that you are a BLA member which should only take 1 second.
2. Immediately an email is sent to you with a link to our appointed lawyers, you complete the form and press submit.
3. Our system will also send an email to the same lawyers confirming your membership and for them to proceed in assisting you.
4. It is vital you click the link in the email we send you. The link is to the appointed lawyer form which you need to complete ASAP, this will make it easier for them to tie our email and your form together and create a file.
5. The BLA appointed lawyers will send you their T & C’s to check, sign and return to them. The T & C’s will confirm that the BLA will pay the invoice and not you.
6. We only have funds to assist existing members and we will only pay for Pre-Action Protocol, section 8 or section 21 Notice. On average 72% of all issues between the landlord and renter are resolved by using the above process.
7. After the initial steps should the parties resort to litigation (which should be avoided if at all possible) you may choose another lawyer or continue with the same lawyers. In any event, we will have no further involvement in your case. Should you chose to remain with the same lawyers you will receive discounted rates which all members are entitled to.
8. We anticipate a large volume of members will call on the CFA with this in mind our electronic system will automatically pick any one of the 3 lawyers equally spreading the workload for the participating lawyers.
9. The CFA is not first come first served, British Landlords Association have sufficient funds to help & Support all existing members. Please use the CFA when and if you need it.
10. The CFA is set up to help our members through this difficult period. Our aim is to encourage resolution between our member and the tenant.
11. Under exceptional circumstances, The BLA may financially help a member past the 3 processes.
12. We remind our members our free helpline is open 7 days a week and will remain open 7 days a week until we defeat the Coronavirus.
- Which members can apply for help? All members
- Can I use any lawyer or just selected lawyers? Just appointed BLA lawyers, lawyers who have agreed to participate and approved by the BLA.
- Does the money paid by the BLA to lawyers have to be paid back? No
- Are members means-tested to qualify for help? No
- What is covered? Pre-Action Protocol, section 8 or section 21 Notice
- If I wanted help and support after the notice, could I ask the BLA selected lawyers? Yes, you could, we would not have any involvement in that. This would be between you and our chosen lawyers. We would not pay for any other service other than Pre-Action Protocol, section 8 or section 21 Notice. You would, however, continue to receive the BLA discounted rates.
- If I wanted to go to another lawyer afterwards and not use the BLA selected lawyer, can I do this? Yes, however, we would not pay their fees.
- How can I use this service? Complete the form below, simple that is it! (only members can use this service)
- What is the reason for this Free financial help? We, as a nation, are going through a challenging time; we all need to come together. We aim to assist landlords and renters find common ground, understand both points of view with the anticipation our assistance can help both parties. To avoid court action, if possible.
- How does it work? You complete the form below, BLA selected lawyers will contact you directly and send you there T & C’s which will confirm they will do work in preparing and drafting Pre-Action Protocol, section 8 or section 21 Notice.
- Is the help available to non-members? No
- Will I be able to speak to my lawyer directly? Yes
Crucially they will confirm, you will at no stage have to pay anything directly or indirectly for the preparation of Pre-Action Protocol, section 8 or section 21 Notice. We will pay for them directly.
Millions of renters are not able to pay rent and need help
According to the Express 23%, of renters say losing their job will leave them immediately unable to service the rent and dire need of help.
The report reveals, in addition, one in five private renters in England, an estimated 1.7 million adults, say they expect to lose their jobs in the next three months because of COVID-19. In many cases, the Universal credit is not enough to cover the full rent.
Shelter the housing charity has said: “For families in a two-bedroom home, the shortfall is as high as £400 a month outside of London, and up to £1,227 in the capital”.
This inevitably will have an impact on UK landlords.
Renters and landlords need financial help and support
Dr William Masih, one of the Directors of the British Landlords Association, said: “Renters and landlords are going to be put under extreme pressure where renters are struggling financially to pay the rent. It is an easy decision for some who are struggling, pay the rent or feed your children. Equally with our members, many are accidental landlords. They wait on the income to service the mortgage, and or, rely on the rental income to live on.
“The BLA very much hopes our assistance can smooth the differences between the parties,” he said.
Mr Sajjad Ahmad, the CEO of the BLA, said: “I am worried about our members and renters too. The lockdown for many is depressing, not able to work or run your business adds to the line of difficulties. The anxiety of rent arrears for renters and for landlords the financial challenges coupled with the scourge of Coronavirus is not good for mental health. Mortgage payment Holidays only defer the payment for a short while.
He added: “members and renters who are already dealing with mental health issues, for some, this situation may be the last straw. The goal must be for the renter to keep their home and the landlord to have surety and confidence in a steady rental income. Evicting a tenant has got to be the last resort.
Last 14 days, my team has worked very hard in reaching out, speaking to many lawyers with the heart and passion for helping landlords and renters. With God’s Grace, we have three excellent, willing participants on board now” he said.
Many housing professionals from landlords, letting agents and housing lawyers realise the world has changed, we need to do things differently. a related article written by McGuire Woods is a good read.What help can landlords get because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Click To Tweet
Source: British Landlords Association
Author: Simon Hampton
Date: 1st of May 2020