There are no legal requirements for your landlord to offer a rent holiday during coronavirus lockdown. If you have stopped paying your rent during the lockdown period, your landlord is not allowed, by law, to commence legal proceedings to evict you for 3 months.
That said, it is not in yours or your landlord’s interests to not discuss these matters in such a difficult time for us all.
Your landlord still has expenses in terms of keeping the property fully maintained and fit for occupation. Your landlord may still have other costs such as mortgages, insurance, management fees and service costs to maintain. If your landlord does have a buy to let mortgage on the property, they are allowed to apply for a 3 month mortgage holiday. This may help them manage costs meaning they can work with you on a rent holiday.
The reality for the landlord is that any mortgage holiday is technically mortgage arrears that will need to be repaid. Likewise, if you agree a rent holiday, these are rent arrears and will also need to be repaid.
Our guidance when approaching a landlord for a rent holiday:
You should only approach your landlord if you genuinely cannot afford to meet the full rental payments. If you are furloughed and on 80% then it would be reasonable for your landlord to still pay the majority of your monthly rent. It is not reasonable to be receiving 80% of pay and pay no rent.
Ideally, you should try and pay your full rent to avoid arrears but if you cannot then you should explain to your landlord why you cannot afford it and prove the same.
If you have been made redundant or have been on sick pay then clearly you may have little or no income to pay rent. Again, proof is better. If you have been made redundant you should approach the benefits agency for financial and rental support.
We suggest you always make at least some rental payments, even if to just cover the landlord’s basic costs as a minimum. Explain to your landlord what you can afford and try and agree a short term measure.
When approaching your landlord for a rent holiday always offer a written plan on how to make up the arrears when you are back at work with a suggested schedule for payment of arrears. Make sure this is reasonable and you would be able to afford it in normal circumstances. Only pay back what you can afford. There is no point agreeing a rent holiday and then breaking the agreement for paying back any arrears. This would not look good in court or on any future landlord references.
In simple terms, approach your landlord in a friendly and open manner. We appreciate some landlords are not that ‘approachable’ but many are and they have the same worries as you right now.