To say that the COVID 19 crisis is causing a lot of disruption across the world would be a complete understatement. As people, the concern for everyone out there suffering from the virus is immeasurable. As landlords, it’s also important that we are worried for the people that are renting property. However, for many landlords you need to ensure that any tenants are paying the rent that they can to ensure we can still pay the mortgage and ensure that properties are maintained.
Rent holidays are important for tenants, but we (as landlords) can still try to ensure that the money needed to pay for any properties are still payed. Here’s some advice on how to chase up your rent property, carefully, and with the right attitude to ensure that you get your money and don’t cause unnecessary issues for yourself or your tenants.
Make sure you communicate properly.
Communication is important all the time, in ever facet of life, and especially now. Some tenants have been putting off dialogue and avoiding communication. This is an error, as some tenants will use this as an excuse to not pay rent. As the news is changing often and there are many elements of lockdowns, shutdowns, and tiers that can confuse the best of us, it’s best to lay out the rules to tenants and tell them that they still have an obligation to pay when possible.
The method of communication is important, emailing is a great way to get in touch at the present moment. By emailing you can be sure that you are leaving a paper trail and that everything you send to a tenant is traceable. Also, with emailing you give tenants a time to think and time to get back to you, they can check bank accounts, contact work, and plan around paying their bills without going into debt. With an email you can strike the right tone, find the relevant information about universal credit, and ensure that you impart a here-to-help message but still ask for any rent not payed.
Make sure that you collect all the information necessarily.
This is a stage which will definitely weed out any tenant that’s trying to not pay because they don’t want to, not because they can’t. Once you have contacted your tenants, send them an information request, and ask for several key bits of info. Ask them about their financial situation and circumstances, propose a Rent Payment Plan that can be flexible around any jobs or payments that need to done at the later date (on their behalf) and if possible ask them about an Universal Credit applications (and subsequent reference information).
The Payment Plan is whatever you agree with the tenant and may include the tenant making part-payments of rent for a period followed by extra payments later to make up the shortfall, instead of not paying any rent at all. This process ensures more clarity for both parties. Doing this ensures you are still payed rent, but make sure that you are being cautious and not pushing anyone into any issues.
Ensure that you are aware of the guidelines, and more importantly, the changes to the guidelines.
There’s a good reason for not including any hard and fast details about rent payments. The rules are changing often and it’s a good idea to remember to stay on top of the ‘rent holiday’ regulations, if you’re in England, Wales or Scotland (which may still have different rules). The current advice is that if you are having issues with mortgage repayments then apply for a mortgage holiday, and from there head to the .GOV website regarding any advice.
These are challenging times for everyone at the moment, however all the advice I give in all of the HMO, property development, and property related books can still help you make money from property and create a great property portfolio.
Nick Fox started his property investment career 10 years ago and his portfolio has grown to one of the largest in the UK. Nick now mainly focuses on HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and works to help others achieve property success too. Visit here to find out how he can help you.
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