safeagent sets out process to support tenants struggling to pay their rent
With the announcement that the eviction ban will be extended in England safeagent is setting out a plan to support tenants and landlords to ensure a sustainable post COVID Private Rented Sector (PRS).
safeagent is calling for a fair and appropriate system to be put in place, which ensures tenants who are struggling to pay their rent, and landlords who are facing financial difficulties as a result, have a clear way forward.
safeagent believes that the existing Government measures do go some way to creating a safety net for tenants. However, safeagent says it must go further, by creating a process that enables landlords, agents and mortgage lenders, to work together to create stability for tenants and prevent potential homelessness.
Summary of the Proposed Process
- An existing tenant whose income is reduced should immediately inform their landlord/agent and claim Universal Credit (UC)
- The housing element of any UC claim should be paid direct to the landlord/agent from day one
- Where UC is not covering the rent in full, and a mortgage is in place, the lender must agree to a reduction in mortgage payments for a specified period
- A payment plan is then drawn up between the tenant and the landlord, supported by the agent where necessary taking account of any UC direct payments and shortfall
- Any changes to the tenant’s circumstances are dealt with via a new payment plan
- If necessary, the landlord/agent claims Government grant to cover any debt built up due to the agreed reduction in mortgage payments
Main Advantages of the Proposed Process
- Tenancies are sustained and homelessness prevented
- Tenants do not build up long term debt or have their credit histories adversely affected
- The financial viability of landlords is maintained, ensuring no unnecessary reductions in the essential supply of rented housing
- Landlords get access to a replacement for the mortgage holiday arrangements which ended last month
- Lenders can be confident that mortgage payments will be safeguarded
- Maximum advantage is taken of the skills and knowledge of professional lettings and management agents.
Commenting, Isobel Thomson, safeagent Chief Executive, said:
“What we need now is less of the vitriol which pervades any discussion around arrears and evictions. Instead, we need collaborative efforts to produce a workable process which will protect the interests of all, as we get through this extraordinarily challenging period together. safeagent is offering practical solutions which we believe will help to sustain tenancies and avoid homelessness.”