Member Stories Victoria Barker 25/08/2020

Listen: Single mum Candy left struggling financially having received no rent this year

The NRLA has heard from many landlords across the country about how the extension to the moratorium on evictions, and the notice period extension, will affect them.

We’ve heard from a landlord who is currently homeless because a tenant is refusing to move out of her rental property and has not paid rent since last year, and a tenant who spoke to us about how the evictions ban has affected his quality of life during lockdown due to a neighbour's behaviour. 

We have also heard from many landlords who have been going the extra mile to support their tenants at the moment, with some taking a hit to support tenants at this time.

We are urging landlords to Write to their MPto demand that:

  • The evictions ban is not extended again
  • Interest free, government guaranteed hardship loans for tenants. Providing tenants with a means to pay off COVID-related arrears will sustain tenancies and remove any risk of eviction as furlough is removed. These should be paid directly to landlords and should cover all arrears accumulated since the start of the pandemic. This has already been introduced in Wales.
  • Income support for landlords. If a tenant refuses, or is unable, to take up a loan then landlords must be able to cover arrears through grants.

This is landlord Candy's story

Landlord Candy can’t remember the last time she wasn’t worried about money.

As a single mum, she never imagined she’d be in the situation she is in at the moment when she first decided to let her rental property out a decade ago.

As if juggling home schooling and starting a new job during a pandemic wasn’t enough to be dealing with; the tenant currently living in her rental property has not paid a penny of rent since December.

“I had to cancel my sons Christmas present because I couldn’t afford it due to not being paid any rent”

The first month Candy noticed her tenant had missed a rental payment, she tried to make contact with them to see what was going on-and if she could help at all.

As a landlord she’s used to letting her property to tenants on benefits or low incomes, and helping them with their Universal Credit payments.

So she got in touch to see if the tenant had perhaps fallen on hard times, and to learn more if they needed any support.

Fast forward three months to March, and despite multiple attempts to try to engage with the tenant, Candy had still not received a penny of rent from the tenant. Added to which, he has convictions for harassing neighbours.

Candy knows that due to the pandemic the tenant is still receiving an income, and has been furloughed, but is simply choosing to not engage with her-even though she’d be open to arranging a rent reduction.

Reliance on the rent as her income

Given Candy relies on the money she receives from renting out her property for her livelihood, and that the tenant was still refusing to engage or pay any rent-she reluctantly decided to begin the process of gaining possession of her property.

By the middle of March, she had submitted court papers in order to gain possession of the property from the non-paying tenant.

But just a matter of days later-the Government announced a ban on all evictions for three months, something that has now been extended again.

The decision was one that dismayed Candy, who is now extremely worried about meeting her own living costs because the tenant continues to not pay rent, but also for the welfare of neighbours at her property. She has taken out a loan to cover the income that she should be receiving in rent, and does not want to take a break on paying the mortgage on the property as she's worried how this will affect her rating.

“My tenant is still continuing to live rent free-I don’t make any money on the property – it’s in negative equity so I’m trying to save up the short fall to sell it.

“I’m a single parent and due to the pandemic have found myself potentially unemployed as a new job I was about to take up has fallen through. So here I am, a single parent, with uncertainty about my future income, subsidising the living costs of a man who is receiving furlough money and simply chooses to not pay his rent”.

The extension of the eviction ban now means that Candy is powerless to gain possession of her property, despite the tenant breaching several parts of the contract.

Candy recently shared her experiences with the Times Radio, and you can listen to her telling her story here (listen from 1 hr 15 mins in) 

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker Communications Officer

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the NRLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our news centre, the weekly e-newsletter, and manages and creates content for the association’s social media channels. She also contributes to our members magazine, Property.

See all articles by Victoria Barker