One of the relief programs issued by governments is the banning of evictions during the current states of emergency that exist across the country. This relief is aimed at those who cannot afford to pay rent due to the financial impact that Coronavirus has had on those who have lost their employment or income.
Landlords cannot evict tenants who are unable to pay rent and the courts may not grant evictions during this time. and well. However, landlords have adopted negotiation as a way to deal with rent arrears while a state of emergency exists. Visit this website for more tips.
Payment Plan Agreements
The most common method to deal with rent arrears seems to be, sending out letters to tenants requiring tenants to sign agreements to enter into a payment plan. The Government has encouraged landlords to engage with their tenants so as to allow them to pay a smaller amount of rent during the state of emergency and then paying outstanding or back rent once the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.
Issuing eviction notices during the current state of emergency is not legal. Tenants should be aware that the court will not currently issue evictions orders and that they can therefore not legally be removed from their residences. A tenant should not feel pressured into paying up to avoid an eviction.
It is clear that financial recovery from the impact of the Coronavirus will not be immediate or imminent for most people who have found themselves jobless or in a financial crisis as a result of lockdowns and other regulations implemented by governments to prevent or slow the spread of the pandemic.
For eviction purposes, courts will assess each case on its own merits before issuing an eviction order.
Proof of Income
Finally, landlords are demanding proof that tenants are unable to pay rent. They want proof of termination of employment and bank statements that clearly reflect the current income as well as the financial status of their tenants before foregoing rent. The court rules now require landlords to provide evidence on how COVID-19 has affected the tenant which in turn may demonstrate a tenant’s ability to pay rent. Landlords should seek evidence from there tenants, so they are compliant with the eviction process. You can download the relevant documents from the British Landlord Association blog.
A Court may take a negative view for any tenant failing to provide evidence should they plead COVID-19 as a reason for not paying the rent. Whether they are receiving funds from unemployment benefit or other means to provide relief during this difficult time, this income may in some cases be used to pay for other basic needs such as food.
Protection for Landlords
Another protection is that outstanding rent will be payable once a state of emergency is lifted. The landlord can therefore continue sending notifications of outstanding rent so that the tenant is aware of exactly how much they will owe when landlords can legally start claiming rent or evicting non-paying tenants once again.
It is highly recommended for tenants to continue paying rent if they can afford to do so or they may face penalties once the state of emergency has come to an end. Tenants that can only afford to pay a portion of their rent should also do so to avoid a huge financial crisis after a state of emergency has ended.
Source: BLA Member
Date: 5th of September 2020
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