LandlordZONE talks to a landlady who is facing financial problems after her well-known tenant suddenly announced he would no longer pay rent on the London bolthole he rented off her, without providing any proof of financial difficulties and refusing to move out.

A landlady who rents out a London pied-à-terre was shocked when her wealthy tenant demanded a rent holiday, then decamped to his own home.

The famous musician rents Carol Wilson’s luxury flat in Notting Hill and travels the world, but within 24 hours of the announcement on rent payment breaks during Coronavirus – which suggested landlords should work with tenants who were in financial trouble – informed her that he wouldn’t be able to pay any for the foreseeable future because all his future concerts had been cancelled.

So, while her tenant spends the lockdown at his main home in the country, which he owns, the one-bedroom flat remains empty.

Carol, from Maidenhead, also runs a company which has had to cease trading during the crisis and is now living off her savings. “I’m partly dependent on the rent for income,” she says. “My savings are in my properties and I’m not really making any profit. I’m sure my tenant is pretty wealthy as he can afford the £2,000 a month rent – but I couldn’t!”

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He’s a good tenant who’s been renting her flat since 2013, and she was shocked when he gave her the news. “We get on well and I’ve never put up the rent, but I might have to give him two months’ notice, which I don’t really want to have to do.”

Rent holiday

Carol believes it’s unfair that tenants can demand a rent holiday regardless of their own or their landlord’s financial situation. “There must be thousands of rented pieds-a-terre in this country. Surely all the Government restrictions are in place only to protect people from being out on the streets?”

However, a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government department has told LandordZONE that most tenants will be able to pay rent as normal and should continue to do so, as they are still liable for the rent during this period.

A spokeswoman adds: “Our Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants is clear that landlords are not obliged to stop charging rent – it recommends an open and sensible dialogue between landlord and tenant.”

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