The Government called for ‘open and sensible’ conversations to take place between tenants and landlords, in relation to the possibility of so called ‘rent holidays’, ‘mortgage holidays’ and everything in between.
The hope was that relationships between the parties would be good enough and strong enough, to ensure that fair resolutions could be reached across the board, and in both the residential and commercial sectors.
That has undoubtedly been accomplished by many, with thousands of landlords and tenants working together, up and down the country, to preserve their arrangements and to ensure everyone comes out of this as unscathed as possible.
There are exceptions though, far more than the Government would have hoped for probably.
The idea of rent holidays was surely thought up to protect the most vulnerable tenants, and it was communicated to the public very early on, that the COVID-19 outbreak should not force anyone into homelessness through eviction.
Indeed, evictions were suspended.
This incredible and unprecedented protection for tenants was unanimously welcomed, as a sign that open and sensible communications could lead to positives for everyone…
…until reports started to come in of tenants taking the p***…
Residentially and commercially, there seems to have been a little bit of craftiness, with some tenants who can clearly afford to pay throughout the pandemic, claiming that they can’t.
Much like Premier League clubs trying to furlough non playing staff, this isn’t what rent holidays were set up for.
We are hearing from many commercial landlords who tell us that their tenants are asking for rent holidays due to a loss of income. All of this, when their owners, directors and shareholders could easily step in and pay the months rent.
This is happening residentially as well, and it seems the Government may have underestimated the number of people who would try and take advantage of the current turmoil.
The press would have you believe that rogue landlords are the only ones who would try and profit from all of this, but look a little closer and dig a little deeper and you’ll find that irrespective of their own or their landlord’s financial situation, there are tenants out there looking to benefit from a break in paying their rent.
The Government have reiterated that their guidance doesn’t mean that landlords are obliged to stop charging rent, just that open and sensible dialogue is a must.
Open and sensible works both ways though, and we would throw the word ‘honest’ into the mix for good measure.
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