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The coronavirus crunch is yet to translate into delayed rental payments but agents are warning that there is still tenant confusion about whether they are obliged to pay.

Analysis of 20,000 lettings by Goodlord, which helps landlords and agents automate tenancy contracts and record payments, found only 2% more properties than usual – an increase from 4% to 6% – are behind on rent since March 11th.

This is based on rent being more than seven days late.

Goodlord also reported that claims from landlords against its rent protection insurance policies remain below 1% of rented properties covered.

However, a survey by Goodlord with 124 lettings agents alongside this research found 84% have reported confusion amongst tenants, with many not realising they remain under obligation to pay rent.

Of those surveyed, 70% said that they have agreed payment plans with less than 10% of tenants so far.

Another 40% letting agents noted that the landlords they work with are being particularly supportive and are working with tenants to address rent payment plans, rent reductions, or supporting late payment plans where necessary.

There have been calls from tenant groups for the Government to introduce rent waivers.

Landlords can apply for buy-to-let mortgage payment deferrals if renters are in difficulty but these are not compulsory.

Tom Mundy, chief operating officer at Goodlord, said: “Despite only being a month since lockdown began, the late payment figures for the rental industry are so far fairly steady.

“They show that the overwhelming majority of tenants are still able to meet their obligations and we believe the Government’s furlough scheme will no doubt be playing a key role in this continuity.

“At the same time, agents and landlords are gearing up to offer more support in the months to come.

“Many agents, along with their landlords, are thinking about how they can offer flexibility, support, and guidance to tenants who might start to struggle.”

By MARC SHOFFMAN

Source: Property Industry Eye

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