‘Communication between landlord and tenant is key to sustaining tenancies where tenants are facing financial difficulties’ stated the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) in it’s newly published ‘Golden Rules’ on managing arrears and avoiding possession claims. Such rules, the NRLA state, form a central part of measures announced by the Government to ensure courts can start to process possession cases following a six-month ban. Here, we explore the new ‘golden rules’ to sustain tenancies in more detail.
The new ‘golden rules’
There are nine ‘golden rules’ in total. The rules focus on the following:
- Communication – when the tenant can’t pay the rent, it should be discussed with the landlord as soon as possible. It is important for landlords to be flexible. They need to have an upfront and open conversation with their tenants at the earliest opportunity. This will allow both parties to agree to a sensible way forward
- Establish whether the tenant is vulnerable – such as disabled or a single parent. If so, local authority housing departments can also give advice and support.
- Signpost – does the tenant needs support or advice on benefit entitlement and debt management? Their landlord will point them to the organisations that can assist them.
- Agree on an affordable payment plan– based on the tenant’s circumstances, where this information has been shared.
- Be transparent– landlords will provide clear rent statements for three month periods (or 13 week periods, if rent is paid weekly), to show any temporary reductions in rent or deferred payments.
- Consent for payment– if the tenant is claiming benefits, explore seeking consent for payment of any housing element directly to the landlord.
- Actively involve guarantors – in discussions with tenants regarding payment of rent.
- Use an independent mediator– if tenants and landlord cannot agree.
- Record everything– landlords should keep copies of all documentation and a record of all contact with the tenant, and provide the information to the court should proceedings be necessary
We need the golden rules to sustain tenancies
The ‘golden rules’ aren’t legally binding. Their purpose is to help landlords sustain their tenancies.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Despite the courts opening up again, it does not mean that repossessions are an inevitable consequence where tenants and landlords have struggled due to Covid-19.
“The golden rules provide all the advice needed to sustain tenancies – but it is incumbent on both parties to speak to each other.”
How can we help
We hope that you have found this post on the new golden rules to sustain tenancies useful. At Keatons, we are keen to support local landlords as best we can. We know these are challenging times, and many landlords are looking for guidance and support.
As an experienced letting agent serving London, we are here to help. If there is anything, we can assist you with; please contact Keatons today.