An affluent family have insisted on taking a nine-month rent holiday, despite being furloughed on a director’s salary and getting a new car, reports one despairing landlady.

Proving that it’s not just benefit claimants who can cause headaches for landlords, the anonymous Cheltenham landlady tells LandlordZONE that the family of five refused to pay the full £2,400 a month rent on their four-bedroom detached house, during the first lockdown.

“When I confronted my tenant about it, he told me to ask for a mortgage holiday and sent me information from Shelter about tenants’ rights,” she says.

“He thinks he doesn’t have to pay it back, but if he’s being paid 80% of his salary then he should be paying me 80% of the rent – after all, I still have to pay my mortgage.”

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To add insult to injury, the tenant’s wife has been holding pilates classes in the house without permission.

“I don’t know whether she’s got public liability insurance but under the terms of the contract she shouldn’t be running a business with customers coming to the house,” adds the landlady. “She was advertising it until the recent lockdown and obviously making an income.”

New car

The family have even recently acquired a new car, although they insist it was a gift from his mother.

The landlady, who’s now owed £14,300 in rent arrears, has had enough and, with the help of Landlord Action, served a Section 8 notice in November – when her tenants finally started paying rent again.

But unless they agree to re-pay the arrears, they’ll have to leave by 27th May. “I’d actually like them to leave now as I’m fed up,” she says. “He recently had the cheek to demand I fit some more cupboards for his daughter.”

She adds: “I’ve been a landlord since 1995 and hadn’t had a problem like this before. Next time I get a new tenant, I plan to get a guarantor insurance policy so this sort of situation doesn’t happen again.”

Read more about the impact of Covid on landlords.

7 COMMENTS

  1. How many others are abusing the protection aimed at tenants who really can’t afford to pay, at the expense of their LL? Surely there should be a mechanism in place to check whether those taking rent ‘holidays’ really need them to stop this sort of abuse?

  2. Very irritating for Landlords, however, it may well be a short term, opportunistic ‘gain’ for many tenants who are abusing the current situation, as impacted Landlords will eventually serve s8 or s21’s [while they still can] which in turn may well show-up in future professional tenant screenings – it really does reinforce the need for Landlords and Agents to professionally screen prospective tenants.

  3. Worth serving a CCJ on rent defaulting tenants.

    Would a LL be that concerned if tenants vacated!?

    Tenants can stop the CCJ if they satisfy it within a month.

    Everytime a month of arrears serve a CCJ.
    Eventually the tenant will get fed up satisfying CCJ and the costs.

    They will invariably JUST pay the rent!

  4. Incidentally just got rid of a lodger who had advised she wasn’t going to pay 2 months of rent because she couldn’t afford it.

    So as per the lodger agreement I gave her 1 month NTQ.
    She has now vacated to be replaced by 2 othe lodgers as a couple.
    Simples!

  5. A good agent would have re-educated the tenant of legalities about their mis-informed understanding of their responsibilities and liabilities as well as explained the purpose and workings of a mortgage holiday which could have prevented this. Tenants with half an idea of their rights are easily misled.
    It does not entirely stop default but the day that they exceed the 6 months rent arrears (which can occur on a daily basis) I would get Landlord Action to serve court notice for the accelerated Covid Sect 8.
    also worth serving a Section 21 as a separate case to get it into the system before they are cancelled altogether. as noted above On-line money claim for repayment or a CCJ is also worth doing as an individual with this type of income will be seriously inconvenienced by having a CCJ against their name as they tend to want credit agreements also.
    Landlord’s who don’t use reputable and knowledgeable agents need to spend a lot of time keeping abreast of the constantly shifting sands of letting legislation or risk it costing them significantly more than the agency management costs. If they wait until June to seek arrears repayment they may get involved with the latest piece of legislation to cause angst – the new Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) cunningly released on 24 Dec (when no one was watching – and from the Dept of Business not MHCLG) so not spotted by a lot of the lettings media (see article above this) until this last week or so

  6. Regardless of their salaries, why are they a family of five? Hopefully some of the children are adopted, as in a grossly overpopulated world (which coronavirus is only making the weeniest of dents in), any person producing more than one child in their lifetime is adding to that exponential population growth. This family are also in the process of training their children to become cheats and manipulators and like so many other parents, in all income groups, too busy inflicting their ghastly progeny on everyone else (who pays for them) to consider teaching them about responsibilities, consideration, and the ethics of their existence. A good look at this pair’s parents will doubtless provide the clue to their behaviour!

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