Coronavirus: Will tenants have to prove they can’t pay rent?

Property Clinic: Landlords should look for proof if tenants apply for Covid-19 rent freeze

These are unique and challenging  times for landlords and tenants.

These are unique and challenging times for landlords and tenants.

 

Will tenants have to prove they can’t pay the rent under legal changes to help them during the coronavirus crisis, or is this a blanket rent freeze regardless of ability? I know a lot of renters in good secure employment who won’t have any disruption or reduction in pay in the coming months. This move seems like a giveaway to a lot of people who don’t need it, and will throw a lot of small landlords into mortgage arrears.

These are unique and challenging times for both landlords and tenants. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has introduced emergency legislation stopping landlords from terminating a tenancy for nonpayment of rent, but this does not mean it is an open house on this matter for every tenant.

I would strongly suggest that if you have a tenant(s) living in your property and they have requested some sort of reduction or freeze on their rent you look for proof of same.

Landlords should look for an official letter from the tenant(s) employer’s HR department or manager to say they have been let go due to the current situation. I would also look for proof they have applied for the Revenue support on loss of earnings the Government just announced.

Once you have established that your tenant(s) have a genuine problem then work with them as best you can. This can be in the form of a reduced rent and a deferral until such time as things get back to normal which they will. Make sure your agreement is documented in email conversations and be very clear what you are offering the tenant(s) so there are no arguments at a later date.

Marcus O’Connor is a chartered surveyor and managing director of MFO, The Property Professionals. He is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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