Renters struggling to pay their rent as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic should speak to their landlord as soon as possible in order to explain their situation and explore ways of managing the situation.
The renter could ask for additional time to pay or payment in instalments. If the renter is unable to reach an agreement with their landlord, it is recommended to still pay any amount that they can afford.
Renters should keep a record of what they have offered and also paid, following up any conversations with emails. Renters should always remember that they will ultimately remain liable for payment of the rent in full.
At the end of the emergency legislation period of three months (this may or may not be extended), if a renter is in arrears of rent, the Government has stated that landlords and renters will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account renters’ individual circumstances.
The advice to landlords is to engage in proactive communication with their renter(s) regarding their financial situation.
If there is any issue arising, and their rental property is mortgaged, landlords may also wish to speak to their mortgage company regarding their circumstances.
The underlying message from the Government’s response is that renters, landlords and Government are now expected to work together so that, when the UK pulls through the Covid-19 pandemic, peoples’ lives and the economy can rebound as quickly as possible, and homelessness for renters will not become widespread.
Powys housing officers are also committed to working with tenants who are experiencing financial pressures during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Officers, including the Council's specialist Tenancy Support Officers, will work with tenants facing difficulties to manage their rent accounts and have said they will not be progressing evictions for breaches of tenancy during the pandemic.
Action will be considered in cases of extreme anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, when the Council will consider taking out injunctions against perpetrators to make sure that the well-being and health and safety of residents is safeguarded.
Housing Management and Options Officers will make every effort to speak to tenants whose accounts fall into arrears, to understand why the tenants are not paying and, if due to CV19 and can’t get any Housing Element of Universal Credit, pass to Tenancy Support Officer for further advice and help.
Rent holidays won't be offered because Powys County Council do not charge interest on accrued rent so there is no financial advantage of offering this facility.