Call of the Week: Rent arrears repayment
This week the advice team were able to help one of our members who wants to come to a repayment arrangement with a furloughed tenant who had returned to full time work.
Our member’s tenant had originally approached them informing them that they would have difficulty paying the full rent due to the reduction in their pay, and – as our landlord was in a financial position to do so – they agreed to defer some of the rent, to be paid back at a later date.
The finer detail of the arrangement to pay back the rent was not set in stone and our member contacted us looking for guidance on how to go about this, now that the tenant was back in full time work.
The NRLA recently released guidance on rent arrears management during the coronavirus and how landlords and tenants can work together to sustain tenancies.
Reaching an affordable payment plan that works for both landlords and tenants is possible.
It is advised the tenant makes a budget, based on paying the rent each month and other outgoings and then agrees an amount to pay off – in addition to the full rent – that they can afford
Using the non-essential spending identified in the budget is a good way to identify where the tenant can get this money from.
Landlords should look to strike a balance between asking the tenants to repay amounts that would just cause them to struggle to pay the rent – defeating the object of deferring it in the first place – while ensuring the amount is not so low it will take years and years to pay off. It should work for both parties.
As our member has a good relationship with the tenant, it would be a good idea to get in touch and talk it through with them and come to a decision together. If this isn’t possible for some reason then it may be worth considering an independent mediator to help them come to an agreement.