Overdue Rent During Lockdowns and Throughout the Pandemic Are Your Hands Tied?



We’ve said lots over the last twelve months about what you can and can’t do as a landlord.

Many of our clients in the landlord industry have looked to us for guidance and reassurance since the pandemic started, and we’ve been happy to help as much as we can.


We have continued to do everything we’ve been allowed to do, whilst ensuring that identifying vulnerability has remained a priority.


It always will be with #TeamCES.


For many landlords, both in the residential and commercial sectors, there have been very few signs of optimism throughout all of this, with rolling extensions to evictions bans and a lack of any kind of respect towards landlords and the role they play.


‘Sympathetic’ and ‘understanding’ were the words used a year ago when encouraging landlords to open dialect with their struggling tenants. All this did was pave the way for advantages to be taken and unpaid rents to continue to accrue.


We’d like to be able to say this came as a huge surprise, but we all saw it coming, and with our hands tied and our clients’ hands tied, to a certain extent, we had to watch and let it happen.

But…


There have always been options.


And we have helped landlords throughout the pandemic, to do what they can.


For residential landlords, the threat of eviction was removed a long time ago with the never-ending evictions ban. Those in the industry know that many tenants have taken advantage of this, misused and abused it, even when their arrears had already begun to mount up before the arrival of coronavirus.


Section 8 Notice thresholds have gone up, and it’s all looked like a bit of a losing battle, especially when the ‘best case scenario’ seems to have been the vague hope that £20k of rent arrears plus costs and enforcement fees could be recovered from the contents of a tenant’s home, and even that would have to be after at least another twelve months.


So, what can you do?


You can still, and have always been able to apart from a short ban, use enforcement companies like ours (and solicitors) to pursue the tenant, and you can still gain a judgment via the County Court.


Providing this judgment is over £600, it can still be transferred to the High Court and enforced by a High Court Enforcement Officer.


We might not be allowed to enter residential properties just yet, but surely doing something is better than doing nothing.


The same is true for commercial landlords, whose hands have arguably been tied the tightest throughout all of this.


Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) has been a lame duck, with the days that rent must be outstanding having increased to 554.


Forfeiture of Lease is currently banned until the end of June this year, and Statutory Demands or Winding Up Petitions have also been effectively banned.


Hands tied indeed, but again, doing something has to be better than nothing.


When things get going again, a lot of money is going to be owed to a lot of people, and things like this work on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, so don’t be at the back of the queue.


We’ve been saying this all along.


Instructing us as soon as possible is the best chance you have of untying your hands and doing something, right now, about the unpaid rent that has been accruing for a long, long time.


Yes, your hands may have been tied, but we can help you undo the first few knots.



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