Real Estate

How COVID-19 is Affecting UK Renters ?

The two prime conditions that coronavirus has introduced to the human world are 1) financial crisis, 2) social distancing. Both bring many other consequences. The first one makes money management difficult, in fact, impossible in every aspect. The second one has made the movement complicated.

The question is how the situations are affecting the renters. Both the concerns on financial issues and social distancing have precise effects on those who need a roof.

Reduced capacity to afford rent

The first impact on the renters is that with a prevalent threat to jobs and spreading unemployment, paying rent is arduous. It is not possible to move to a new place at a lower rent as social distancing is a big concern. No one wants to let the new renter from some other location, enter their property.

When the restrictions applied in March due to COVID-19, the market saw a drastic drop of 57% from the renters. The worry for health and financial capacity met to bring this unprecedented change.

Low demand by the renters has also affected the decisions of the property buyers. There was around a 70% drop in the buyer market.

Industry experts say that both are the two sides of the coin. The digital mortgage broker Shine Mortgages said, ‘A huge part of the property buyer market aims to make the big purchase to put it on rent immediately. Now, when the renters are not in good condition to make clear decisions, the buyers, too, have postponed their plans.

2 major issues renters are facing during corona pandemic

The renters are intensely worried about the two things and they are –

  • They cannot stop paying rent despite no earning due to job loss or loss in business if they are self-employed. NRLA, The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), demand immediate attention from the government. They need help to ensure their rights and a promise to get the rent continuously.
  • Students on rent are angry, as they have to pay even for the empty rooms. Due to COVID-19 chaos, many students have left the room to get back to their parents or some safer place. However, the landlords are still charging the rent for the rooms. The logic of the property owners in this concern is that the property is still occupied, and the students have not quit the room legally. It is just; they are not living there anymore.

The above conditions have stimulated a cold war between the tenants and the property owners. Both are legally backed with their rights. Due to future uncertainties, even the government is in a fix.

It is not only about the lockdown period. It is about the potential loss in the personal finances of people. Lockdown cannot stay for the whole year, and people will get back to the routine, but how is that possible if there are no jobs.

Force majeure clause has proved its significance in rental agreements

The current situation has made the landlords realize the importance of force majeure that frees them with an unwanted tenant. At the same time, it is also reliving for the renters as they can avoid any legal action in case of non-payment of rent.

Very few lease agreements have the clause of force majeure. However, after this condition, it is going to get an essential place in the agreements. People have realized the importance of such points that may act as the last-minute saviour.

Government measures

To achieve the collective aim of escape from the corona threat, the Government is trying to apply some rules. It wants to assure the rights of both the parties on a rental property. Tenants can feel happy about several measures.

The prime steps taken are –

  • No new notices to the tenants

The landlord cannot send any new notices to the tenants if they fail to make the payments. The difficult time is out of control for all, and we can overcome it only through thorough mutual efforts.

  • Maintenance, repairs, health and safety of tenants are necessary

The renters have all the right to live in a safe, clean, and warm place. The property owners need to ensure these necessary facilities to the occupant.

Measures that put the responsibility on the tenants

Some rules are, of course, in favour of the property owners, and the renters must follow that.

  • Tenants need to pay the rent regularly without any alterations in the amount. If there are any financial issues, the tenant needs to speak to the landlord as soon as possible.
  • The rent conditions mentioned in the agreement will apply without any change. The tenant has to follow them; only in case of any, difficult a discussion should take place between the two.
  • The landlord and the renter can work on a plan to pay the rent at a later date. However, the renter needs to ensure that the payment will be made at that time.


As you can see, so much is going on in the life of the renters and the property owners. However, the final aim is to find a mutual ground where both parties can play safely without harming their rights. The rest depends on the decisions.


Joyce is Managing Editor overseeing the coverage of Senonches.
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