Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

“Using the rent to keep up with the Jones’s” is the title of a recent article by Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina, explaining how tenants who can afford their rent money often decide to spend it on other things.

For many tenants, Christmas is a time when money is tight with all the extra money needed for presents and that all important family Christmas dinner, not to mention the wine and ale that goes with it! It is also a time when landlords, especially as the New Year approaches, find they have a “spike” in the amount of rent arrears on their books.

We all know that for tenants, rent payments should be an absolute priority to keep a roof over heads; most tenants do budget well and keep abreast of their payments.

But a small minority don’t. They get into arrears, not because they can’t afford the rent; so often this is provided to them by the authorities if they are claiming benefits, or they just have different priorities.

Rent arrears is the biggest single reason why landlords use the services of a company like Landlord Action, and it’s the most common reason why tenant’s get evicted.

Landlords with tenants claiming Housing Benefit cannot any longer have payments made direct to themselves, even if the tenant requests it, as these are now by law paid direct to tenants.

However, in the case of rent arrears, the landlord can put a request into the local authority as soon as a second month’s payment becomes overdue. Landlords should not delay in making a request as the lead times with council’s transferring these payments can be quite long.

Mr Shamplina says:

“Yesterday morning I attended a successful High Court eviction in North London, which will appear on our next series of Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords”, a Channel 5 TV documentary series. “The tenants owed £16,000 in rent. After much procrastination and protest, they finally left the property.”

“The tenants had failed to pay rent for eight months. They had delivered excuse after excuse as to why they aren’t able to make the payments. Yet they had a house filled with all the latest technology, gadgets and gizmos. They also had a brand new car. They really appeared to be living the high life.

“Even after all these years, this case made me angry. Just because they didn’t own that home, it did not mean they had a right to expect someone else to fund their lifestyle and enable them to treat themselves with whatever they want. Rent, like a mortgage, should be the single most important payment that a person/couple makes each month.

“The couple who rented this particular property were both school teachers, they had children of their own and were renting a well maintained family home. They had passed their reference checks and on paper, appeared to be ideal candidates to rent the property, at £2000 a month. Sadly, that was not the case, says Mr Shamplina.

“Forcing someone to leave a property is never a nice situation, and particularly at this time of year. But how can two fully grown adults with responsible jobs not understand that the situation they find themselves in is not the fault of the landlords, but a consequence of their own actions? It was as if they genuinely didn’t think they would have to leave the property. They simply didn’t think this day would come.

“We see all types of circumstances in the field of eviction, and it can often be difficult not to feel some kind of emotion, especially when there are children involved. This is especially true when people have hit hard times and there are genuine reasons as to why they have fallen behind with rent payments.

“These tenants were nothing like that. They were manipulative and irresponsible. The couple used excuses to tug on the heartstrings of this particular landlord and he gave them extra time over and over again. Finally, as a result of the financial strain the landlord has been put under from not receiving rent, he is being forced to sell the property.

“Rent is a responsibility, and more people should treat it as such, rather than a choice. Yes, lots of people want a nice home filled with lovely things. But you can’t just have whatever you want in life without paying for it. Renting a property is no different.”

Want to know how to deal effectively with rent arrears? Read this

Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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