Member Stories Rhianna Abrey 15/03/2021

How the pandemic has left me struggling

Cathy is currently out of work and struggling financially due to the pandemic, her tenants are in £20,000 of rent arrears, which began prior to Covid-19 and has nowhere to turn…. All because she is a landlord.

Cathy brought a property in Croydon, South London in 2008 the idea of generating extra income and supplementing her own mortgage payments. 

She initially took on a tenant with her child and there were no issues with payment and she always paid on time. 

Cathy then found the tenant’s partner moving in, without a new tenancy agreement or agreeing this in advance with Cathy. 

In October 2019 issues with rent payments started to occur. This continually happened each month, with no sign of bills being paid and no communication with Cathy, leaving her in the dark. The tenants were difficult to get hold of, they stopped answering her calls and responding to her emails. All Cathy wanted to do was to find out what was going on, and if she could help in any way. 

To make matters worse, the partner of the original tenant had been in trouble with the police, due to multiple problems in the property and reported anti-social behaviour.  

The effect 

 Rent arrears began building up prior to the pandemic, leaving Cathy covering the costs for well over a year. Due to the amount of time that has passed and multiple eviction ban extensions, this has meant that Cathy’s tenants now owe her over £20,000 in rent and there is no sign of this being resolved. She contacted  the tenant’s mum who was used as a reference fraudulently, but she refused to get involved.

The tenant has also falsely informed the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)that she does not live at the property, preventing Cathy from setting up direct payments of Universal Credit.

Cathy herself is a mother of two and is struggling due to being out of work because of the pandemic. She now feels stuck due to the lack of government support throughout the pandemic. 

Cathy addressed her concerns and said: “This really is a difficult time for me and my family. As well as trying to support my family and provide a substantial income, the issues that I currently have with my tenants and the amount of arrears that are adding up, is causing me a lot of stress right now. Because I am a landlord, I have nowhere to turn.”

Cathy has a second charge on her rental property, and this needed to be paid off over a year ago and is now in the position where she could lose the property and her monthly income and feels more needs to be done to help landlords.

The NRLA is calling for the government to tackle the rent debt crisis and asks them to urgently look at the ongoing issue which is a massive issue for hundreds of thousands of landlords now. You can find our recent press release about this here.