Tenant Rent Holidays and How to Manage them

Hello Medway Property News readers. First, may I join the country in wishing our Prime Minister Boris Johnson a speedy recovery from Covid-19 and that he quickly the recovers from the Intensive Care Unit. Our thoughts are with him!

We are in a very challenging period of time where there are many heroic individuals doing an incredible job up and down the country fighting the war on COVID-19 and I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to them. I know that you will join with me.

So how is everyone holding up? I’m interested to hear from all of my readers on how this crisis has affected them, and what their strategies are to cope during this downturn.

It’s situations like these that really challenge our human capacity for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. I heard the quote the other day ‘necessity is the mother of all invention’ and I can’t help agree more, that through these awful circumstances we have pulled together to keep functioning through technology and new ways of working… ways that could linger when this crisis all blows over.

I have had a lot of questions from landlords over the past few weeks about how to manage tenant rent holidays, so thought I would give you a couple of pointers as it is important to handle these requests properly.

As landlords, we need to ensure that we do not fall into any traps and we need to protect ourselves and our business from financial harm. There is a lot more to consider than just accepting non-payment of rent and financially suffering!

Firstly, can I begin by saying that despite me using the misnomer in the headline of this blog, these are not rent holidays! You must let your tenant know that any rent delayed will need to be paid back later.

When a request is received, it should not simply be automatically accepted. Remember that you do not have to grant a payment holiday and that rent remains due. You should however, work together with your tenants to find an arrangement that works for both you and them.

Here are a couple of things that you should consider in order to assess your tenant’s position and ensure that you are making the best decision possible when it comes to changing the payments due.

This request will ideally be received in the form of a formal, written request or answer to a questionnaire and should always be handled formally in writing:

  1. Please outline your current position in full. I.e. have you been made redundant, furloughed etc. If you have had a material change to your employment status, please provide evidence of this such as a letter of furlough or other from your employer.
  2. Have you considered other ways to make allowances for rental payments such as using savings and / or changing credit card or loan repayments?
  3. Do you understand that your rent will remain due for the period of holiday you are requesting; it will simply be converted into a loan. This will have the potential to affect your credit rating in much the same way as any other loan.
  4. Please outline if you can afford a portion of your rent as opposed to needing a total holiday (i.e. 80%). This is advisable as it will reduce the amount of loan that you will accrue.
  5. Please outline how you are intending to pay back the arrears that will be deferred after the end of the three-month period.

Remember that a tenant may be able to part pay their rent and it is also vital to have a formal repayment plan in place. This will protect both you and the tenant should any problems occur with non-payment.

In closing, please do remember that this is a stressful time for your tenants and one where the good landlords stand out. It is important to be robust and fair with requests (particularly where you may receive multiple ones from the same property).

Whilst on the face of it a rent holiday may seem like a simple thing, there is a lot to consider and you have one chance to get it right!

I hope you have found this update helpful and if, after reading this, you have any questions or queries that you would like to discuss, I will be more than happy to assist. You are welcome to contact me on hasan@home-share.co.uk.

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