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Helping landlords help their tenants

Supporting your tenants can help them during this difficult time and can help you deal with your financial commitments too.

Lockdown may be easing, shops may be opening and many are returning to work. While some form of normality is approaching, others, particularly for those who rent, may still be struggling.

As lenders have helped borrowers, have you considered how to best help your tenants get back on track? Have they been able to access the financial support available? If they are furloughed, or worse, been made redundant, how to pay their rent will be among their biggest concerns.

A little extra help when your tenants may need it most

That’s why we would like to help you help your tenants by understanding your tenants’ unique circumstances and engaging and supporting them positively.

With our own involvement as a landlord, we are pleased to share our experiences, helpful information and a range of other sources for you and your tenant(s) in our leaflet for landlords.

National residential landlords association

Many of you will already be members of the National Residential Landlords Association. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of their wide range of resources, it’s a great place to start. Members have full access to a wealth of information and support not only on managing and letting your property during the current pandemic, but how to deal with arrears. You can also learn what financial support may be available to your tenants.

Visit landlords.org.uk for more information.

Other support

You may be able to direct your tenants to a number of organisations that can provide financial and emotional support. A full list of organisations can be found below or you download a copy of our leaflet for landlords.

Engaging with tenants - dos and don't

Lockdown has affected people differently, both mentally and financially. Communicating with your tenants in a calm, kind and flexible way could make all the difference. Here are our top tips on how to engage with tenants:

DOS

 

DON'TS

- Do telephone your tenant and ask how they are getting on

- Do understand that they may be particularly stressed at the moment

- Do ask after their health

- Do try and understand their situation

- Do ensure they have access to all sources of information

- Be flexible. If one tenant can pay then accept this until the second tenant is working, then arrange a flexible, affordable payment plan

- If a tenant needs to move, allow them to do this. It is easier to re-let your property than to get money from a tenant that just can't afford it.
Agree a deduction from their deposit and start marketing your property asap.

- Don't make them feel under pressure

- Don't be unrealistic when discussing paying arrears

- Don't stretch them so much that they will default in the future.

Case study

As landlords ourselves, we have some real world experience in dealing with tenants who are facing a stressful time and who may be seeking help with their rental payments. Through our initiative with Family & Arden Homes LLP, we own a number of refurbished properties in the south east.

We have been actively engaging with our tenants to ensure they are benefiting from the range of help available to them whether they are furloughed, on reduced hours, been made redundant or self employed.

Michelle Goldstein, Senior Property Manager at Family & Arden Homes LLP, explains our approach in our leaflet for landlords.

General government guidance and support

There are more links available now on the coronavirus page following the FCA guidance, including encouraging people to do a budget planner and also assess priority debts. You can find these here.

  • Your tenants may be able to claim housing benefit. You can find more details here.

  • If you know your tenants are struggling to pay their other bills, Citizen’s Advice offers information found here.

  • Your tenants may be may be entitled to benefits. Find out more with Citizen’s Advice here.

  • The Money Advice Service can offer support with managing money, including steps to take to prepare for if circumstances might change. To find out more, click here.

  • The Money Advice Service also has a budget planner that could help tenants work out essential costs. To find out more, click here. They have also produced a guide to help prioritise debts which can be found here.

  • Other places where you might find useful information at this time include Which? and Money Saving Expert.

  • The Financial Conduct Authority has produced a guide to managing financial difficulties during coronavirus which you can find here.

  • If your tenants are feeling stressed or worried and need help with their mental health, The Money and Mental Health Institute can direct you to help here.

Helping your tenants brochure

Our useful guide has some helpful information and a range of other sources to help landlords help their tenants.