National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
New 'golden rules' to sustain tenancies
New ‘golden rules’ to sustain tenancies in the rental housing market have been published ahead of the courts beginning to hear possession cases from the 21st September.
The rules, drafted by the NRLA, form a central part of measures announced by the Government to ensure courts can start to process possession cases following a six-month ban.
If landlords fail to follow the rules, they run the risk of cases being adjourned by the courts for a potentially lengthy period of time, in some cases with no rent being paid.
The document, published today, provides practical advice and support to sustain tenancies wherever possible in situations where tenants are facing financial difficulties.
This includes ensuring tenants and landlords properly communicate with each other as soon as a problem arises, that the landlord understands the tenant’s needs and circumstances, and that suitable arrangements can be agreed where possible to address rent arrears that might be building.
This could include supporting tenants to access financial support that might be available, making use of guarantors or developing suitable rent repayment schedules.
The rules also include advice about access to mediation services where it might help, and warn landlords to keep written copies of all communication with tenants to prove the efforts made to sustain tenancies should the case need to come to court.
The NRLA argues that these rules, together with changes announced to the way courts operate means that possessions cases can be heard again, starting with the most urgent related to anti-social behaviour, tenants committing domestic violence and cases of extreme rent arrears.
Adhering to them – as closely as it is possible to do so – means landlords can demonstrate to the courts they have done everything in their power to support their tenants.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA yesterday said:
“The courts opening up again, does not mean that repossessions are an inevitable consequence where tenants and landlords have struggled due to COVID-19.
“The Golden Rules published today provide all the advice needed to sustain tenancies wherever possible.
“We welcome the framework developed by the Government to ensure courts can begin to hear possession cases again.
“In such challenging times they broadly strike the right balance between protecting tenants affected by Covid and the need for landlords to tackle the most egregious cases including anti-social tenants and cases of extreme rent arrears.
“That said we remain concerned that the judiciary expect landlords, the majority of whom are not property tycoons, to go without rent for anything up to a year before such cases are deemed a priority.
“Such a position is not sustainable, especially where there is almost no chance of the rent arrears being recouped. We will continue to raise the difficulties that this will cause.”
- The Golden Rules can be read online here.
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