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Government urged to tell tenants they must continue paying rent during pandemic

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Tue 14 Apr 2020

Government urged to tell tenants they must continue paying rent during pandemic

Landlords are calling on the Government to make a clear statement that tenants must continue to pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic where possible.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has reported that increasing numbers of members are telling the trade body that their tenants are under the impression that they no longer have to pay any rent.

Groups such as the National Union of Students have been calling for rent breaks while tenants’ union Acorn last week launched a petition calling for the Government to allow payments to be suspended. 

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said some tenants believe that because lenders have provided the option of a three-month mortgage payment holiday to landlords, they should not pay rent for this period.

He said: “The mortgage repayment holiday is only available for landlords who are struggling to make their payments because their tenants are unable to pay part or all of their rent as a direct result of the coronavirus and through no fault of their own.

“It is not an automatic payment holiday and landlords who successfully apply still have to make these payments later on. It is not a grant.

“What it does allow is that where a tenant is having genuine difficulty in meeting their rent payment because of a loss of income, landlords have much greater flexibility to agree a mutually acceptable plan with the tenant to defer the rent due.

“This is not a green light to tenants everywhere to stop paying their rent.”