No Rental Payment This Month?
There are times when you might find yourself checking your bank statement, only to find that your tenant hasn’t paid in the rent that month.
Alarm bells may start ringing – especially if there is still no payment two days after the due date. So, what do you do? Well, first, don’t panic. There may be many reasons why your tenant hasn’t paid that month.
It may be, for instance, that they have simply forgotten (if they don’t pay by direct debit then that could certainly be the case). Perhaps they themselves were waiting for a payment that didn’t materialise and they were left too short financially to make up the rent. A worse scenario could be that they have been made redundant and are finding paying the bills a struggle.
Get in Touch With Your Tenant
Regardless of whatever the difficulty or reason for the non-payment you will never find out what’s going on until you actually speak to your tenant (whether by email, phone or face-to-face). If you are using a property management company then you can ask them to communicate with the tenant.
Simply remind them that the rent is due. If you still don’t hear anything then send a more formal email or letter, outlining that you are worried because of the missed rental payment and asking whether they are having any difficulties. In terms of the latter it could be that a repayment plan could help them get through a difficult period. In the case of redundancy, it could be that they could claim rent payments via Universal Credit until they find another job.
Do They Have a Guarantor?
If your tenant is a student or young person in the first few years of leaving home then it’s possible they have a parental (or other) guarantor. In this case, you could contact them to let them know you haven’t received the rent and could they cover it. This is the whole point of having a rental guarantor, after all.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Many rental guarantee insurance policies for landlords will cover missed rent for up to around £2,000 per annum. If you’ve taken this out – and you did a Tenant Reference Check beforehand then you can simply claim off your policy.
Worst Case Scenario – Eviction
Evicting a tenant doesn’t feel very nice, but sometimes it’s necessary – especially if your tenant is behind with at least two months’ rent and has avoided any attempts to communicate with you.
The form you have to issue for an eviction is a Section 21 notice. There is a legal process, which includes notifying your tenant of your intentions. Failure to abide by it will result in your eviction attempts being thrown out of court. So, take advice from landlord forums or a landlord trade body if you have to do this to make sure you’re not wasting your time – and losing out on further rental payments.
COVID-19 Ban on Tenant Evictions
At this moment in time you can’t evict a tenant. This is due to new legislation drawn up in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government initially put a six month ban on evictions and this was later extended. As you would expect, there is also a huge backlog of court cases so even when the ban on evictions is lifted, it may still take some time to court.
Not only that, but there is an onus on landlords to prove that the tenant wasn’t affected by coronavirus and lockdown. The court wouldn’t evict tenants who couldn’t pay their rent because they were adversely affected by lockdown ie that they were furloughed, lost their job or – if they were self-employed – suffered a drop in regular income.
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