If you’re renting and worried about how you’re going to pay rent because of the extreme circumstances that Coronavirus is creating, we’ve asked Tim Bishop, Head of Renting at proptech lettings service Home Made, to share some simple steps you can take to help make a plan to see you through.
Not only have thousands of people across the UK been furloughed but others have lost their jobs in a time when companies aren’t recruiting. It’s no secret that household finances are being placed under enormous strain, which can seem pretty overwhelming when we don’t have an end date in sight.
If you’re lucky enough to own a house, banks are offering mortgage payers a ‘mortgage holiday’ until they’re in a more stable financial situation later down the line, but what about renters?
Work out how much you have coming in
None of us know how long we’re going to be in lockdown for, so first you need to think about how much income you predict you will have coming in. If you’ve been furloughed, establish if your employer is going to be topping up your salary. If you’ve received a pay cut, try and ascertain how long this will be in force for but also have an honest chat with your boss about any additional support they’re offering and what plans they have put in place.
Following conversations with your employer, if you are concerned about how you will be able to afford to pay rent, reach out to your landlord so you can have a conversation about any rent changes they may be prepared to agree to.
During this time, learn to budget accordingly.has a great budget planner tool that will help you look at all your outgoings and see what you have left at the end.
Check what support is available to you
There is currently a lot of support available for people who have seen their incomes either drop or completely disappear. However, it can be a total minefield trying to work out what you are eligible to receive, especially if you’re self-employed.
is a fantastic place to start if you’re looking for resources on what government support you are entitled to receive and how much. As well as Citizen’s Advice, make sure you speak with your local authority who will be able to answer your questions and give support you as you prepare your claim.
However, if you are concerned about potentially being made homeless, the charitywill be able to provide tailored advice to help you prevent this from happening.
Speak with your landlord
It’s important not to fall into rent arrears, so if you are worried that you will not be able to pay some, or all of your rent, in the coming months, speak with your landlord or managing agent.
Whilst, it’s not a nice conversation to have, it’s a very important one. Although the government has banned evictions for the next few months, rent still has to be payed and any arrears you fall into will have to be paid back when things go back to normal. If you don’t, you can end up with bailiffs knocking on your front door or event in court.
Reach out and have an honest conversation about what you can afford, it might be that your landlord will be happy to take a percentage of your rent for the next couple of months with a payment plan put in place for when things return to normal. Your landlord may also be able to secure a mortgage holiday so should be willing to negotiate.
To keep you safe, essential home checks and maintenance will still need to be done
With everyone forced into self-isolation for the foreseeable, you may feel concerned about anyone entering your home. However, to keep your home in working order, it’s important that landlords still carry out essential maintenance and regulation checks, such as annual gas checks.
Do let your landlord or managing agent know if you are self-isolating or a vulnerable person so they can take extra care when visiting. A landlord is still required to carry out repairs and checks despite the Coronavirus outbreak but your health and safety also needs to be considered before anyone enters your home.
Get to know your neighbours
In times like this, a sense of community can really help see you through the harder times. Get to know your neighbours and explore ways you can work together to stay well and healthy during coronavirus. It may be that you join together to help do the food shops, check on vulnerable people in your community or help people get to and from appointments. You can use technology to keep in touch and virtually hangout to be able to check up on one another without posing any risk to yourself or others.
In these unprecedented circumstances, both tenants and landlords are in this crisis together and Home Made urges everyone to communicate with each other as openly and sympathetically, as possible. Keep in touch with family, friends, and neighbours during the outbreak and, most importantly, take good care of yourselves.