An affluent family have insisted on taking a nine-month rent holiday, despite being furloughed on a director’s salary and getting a new car, reports one despairing landlady.

Proving that it’s not just benefit claimants who can cause headaches for landlords, the anonymous Cheltenham landlady tells LandlordZONE that the family of five refused to pay the full £2,400 a month rent on their four-bedroom detached house, during the first lockdown.

“When I confronted my tenant about it, he told me to ask for a mortgage holiday and sent me information from Shelter about tenants’ rights,” she says.

“He thinks he doesn’t have to pay it back, but if he’s being paid 80% of his salary then he should be paying me 80% of the rent – after all, I still have to pay my mortgage.”

To add insult to injury, the tenant’s wife has been holding pilates classes in the house without permission.

“I don’t know whether she’s got public liability insurance but under the terms of the contract she shouldn’t be running a business with customers coming to the house,” adds the landlady. “She was advertising it until the recent lockdown and obviously making an income.”

New car

The family have even recently acquired a new car, although they insist it was a gift from his mother.

The landlady, who’s now owed £14,300 in rent arrears, has had enough and, with the help of Landlord Action, served a Section 8 notice in November – when her tenants finally started paying rent again.

But unless they agree to re-pay the arrears, they’ll have to leave by 27th May. “I’d actually like them to leave now as I’m fed up,” she says. “He recently had the cheek to demand I fit some more cupboards for his daughter.”

She adds: “I’ve been a landlord since 1995 and hadn’t had a problem like this before. Next time I get a new tenant, I plan to get a guarantor insurance policy so this sort of situation doesn’t happen again.”

Read more about the impact of Covid on landlords.

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