Cornwall letting agent says 'rent holiday' just delays court action

3 minute read
Cornwall letting agent says 'rent holiday' just delays court action

Published at 8:39am 26th March 2020. (Updated at 9:28am 26th March 2020)

A letting agent in Cornwall has said people in rented accommodation still need to pay, despite talks of a government "rent holiday".

Northwood Cornwall said, while it hadn't seen new legislation, "it simply gives a little more time to pay before court action is started".

"There is NO change in this regard to how it has always been, your rent is lawfully due and if you get into any rent arrears you will be fully liable for these," it said in an e-mail to tenants, encouraging them to seek benefits.

"[The Draft Bill relating to the Coronavirus emergency laws] has extended the notice period we must give tenants for possession of the property to three months instead of the customary two months.  Contrary to previous headlines there is no eviction ban, notices for possession of the property can still be served, just with the longer notice period."

Many people have lost their jobs entirely, are on reduced income.

Some, like freelancers or the self employed, currently have no income whatsoever and no firm information from the government on what support they can expect after being told to stop working.

Now Northwood has emailed all its tenants to explain their point of view on the situation during the Coronavirus outbreak.

And it won't be welcome news to many renting their accommodation, telling them: "Rent will remain due but landlords will not be able to start a court action for rent arrears during the three month period."

Here's more of what Northwood had to say:

"You may have heard about the “rent holiday” during the current situation.

We have not seen the legislation with the details but we know the direction of travel.

The government recognise that some people who are ill, self-isolating or even lose their jobs as a result of the current problems may not be able to pay rent.

Obviously anyone who loses their job is encouraged to claim benefits at the earliest opportunity.

Rent will remain due but landlords will not be able to start a court action for rent arrears during the three month period.

Therefore as rent remains due rent should be paid if at all possible.

As it remains due, even if you cannot afford all the rent due to reduced income, please ensure you pay what you can as it will reduce the amount of rent you have to catch up on when this rule is lifted in three months’ time.

The proposal does not take away the responsibility for the rent, it simply gives a little more time to pay before court action is started."

Northwood Cornwall

Northwood added that they are waiting for clarification from the government as to what maintenance works they will be able to carry out under the stricter lockdown measures.

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