If the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being flexible. We’re changing our ways of working, adapting our social lives and adjusting to a constantly evolving new normal.
With many of us facing financial uncertainty due to salary cuts and the impending end of the furlough scheme, be sure to check out our money-saving guide for renters.
It’s packed with top tips for managing your finances and handy hacks for increasing your income, as well as practical advice on what to do if you can’t pay your rent.
If you’re a renter feeling the pinch as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and looking to save your pennies, then look no further. These handy hints can result in savings, despite the tricky circumstances:
Everyone loves a money saving tip. And now, even though we might be watching the pennies and facing financial uncertainty, it’s undeniable that the coronavirus has created time and space for some to start online businesses. Not to mention a market for new types of products, for example, homemade facemasks.
Our income hacks aim to stretch your salary and prevent unnecessary expenditure:
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of employees on payrolls in the UK decreased by 695,000 from March to August 2020. With so many of us impacted by reduced incomes as a direct result of COVID-19, financial security is harder than ever to achieve.
If you’ve done all you can to save your pennies and make some extra cash, but you simply can’t make ends meet, fortunately there is government support available for those struggling to pay their rent as a result of the pandemic. If your income has been affected by coronavirus, you might be able to claim Universal Credit, or other benefits. More information on what benefits you might be able to claim is available from Citizens Advice.
Despite government attempts to minimise financial disruption with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there are a whole host of reasons why it might be difficult to meet rental payments at the moment.
Even on the furlough scheme, a 20 per cent salary drop could be potentially devastating for some renters, whilst many others have been hit with redundancy.
The financial implications of the coronavirus are not going to disappear any time soon, so keep an open channel of communication with your landlord, make them aware if your working circumstances change or you become ill, and try to build a transparent relationship so that difficulties can be resolved promptly.
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme, advises:
“It is essential for tenants to engage with their landlord or agent and to try and negotiate with them to reach a settlement. This will help avoid the lengthy and costly court approach wherever possible and save you both time and money in the long run. If you have built up a good relationship with your landlord or agent, this route is very likely to be more productive than relying on a court. Of course, in these uncertain times, the previous good relationship you may have had with your landlord or agent may have deteriorated. If this is the case, the solution is to seek neutral mediation by a third party.”
Should the worst happen, and you are threatened by eviction, it is important to know your rights. In a move to protect renters affected by coronavirus, the Government acted in March this year to temporarily suspend evictions in England and Wales, with the Secretary of State saying that ‘no one will be evicted due to coronavirus’. Although the ban ended on 20 September 2020, landlords must still abide by the notice period, which has been temporarily extended due to coronavirus.
Under the March 2020 Coronavirus Act, the required notice period for evictions was increased from two to three months. So, if you were told to leave by your landlord between 26 March and 28 August 2020, then the notice period is three months.
The notice period was extended as of August 2020 and now landlords must give tenants six months’ notice if they plan to evict before March 2021. So, if you have been told to leave since 28 August there is now a six-month notice period, unless you are exhibiting antisocial behaviour. More information is available on GOV.UK.uk website.
Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, says:
“If you’re struggling financially and your employment has been affected by COVID-19 please don’t bury your head in the sand. Speak to your landlord at once so that you can work something out with them.
Secondly, always make sure you are exploring all the Government support mechanisms in place like Universal Credit.
A lot of people are facing financial uncertainty at the moment, but in my experience it’s best to face up to those problems and have that difficult conversation with your landlord as soon as possible; you never know that transparency could end up strengthening your relationship with your landlord.”
Remember, you are not alone. Slashed salaries and disappearing jobs as a result of the pandemic mean that many tenants have struggled to meet their regular payments and have fallen into arrears. Ome research has indicated that it is anticipated to take the average tenant seven months to repay just three months’ rent, climbing to 14 for the worst hit.
If you’re finding it difficult to meet your rental payments due to coronavirus, speak to your landlord as soon as possible to work out a payment plan.
Make sure you know what government assistance you are legally entitled to and if you are vulnerable to eviction, consider the Property Redress Scheme’s mediation service. This scheme aims to mediate between tenant and landlord and come to a solution whilst avoiding costly court battles.
Ome’s Deposit Replacement Membership offers unrivalled flexibility via small monthly payments.