How to negotiate a rent reduction during the coronavirus outbreak

If you can afford to pay your rent, you should pay it. There is no rent holiday and evictions are only temporarily paused.

If you can’t afford your rent because of the coronavirus outbreak you should email or message your landlord. Legally you still owe rent but your landlord may be willing to compromise.

Government guidance says landlords should offer support and understanding to tenants. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to try mediation if disputes over rent continue, rather than go to court.

Your message should explain:

  • why you are struggling with rent

  • what you are doing to address your situation

  • your payment proposal

  • that you will be in regular contact

Keep a record of any agreement you come to. You need to agree whether you will pay back the arrears later on or not. Do not agree to repayments you can't afford.

Use our template letter

Copy and paste this text. You need to change any parts marked with *. Double check your letter before you send it.

I am writing to notify you of a change in my income due to the coronavirus outbreak. I have checked Shelter’s website and am following their advice to negotiate a payment adjustment for my rent due on *[date/month].

The government are asking landlords to be flexible and where possible to allow additional time to pay the rent and agree alternative payment plans.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak

*I've lost my job / I'm on reduced pay / I can't continue my self employed work

I am taking the following steps.

*I have applied for benefits and am waiting for my first payment / I am actively seeking work

*I have applied for universal credit and am waiting for my first payment which I have been told I will receive in 5 weeks’ time. I may be able to adjust my rent payments when I receive universal credit depending on how much I am given.

*I have been placed on the government's Job Retention Scheme and am still getting some of my income. I will use this reduced income to pay some of my rent.

*I have applied for the government's Self employment Income Support Scheme.

I am making a proposal to

*pay a reduced rent for 1 month of [£...] / not pay rent this month and review the situation next month

I look forward to hearing your response and will keep you regularly updated on any changes to my situation. I will be in contact next month to discuss future rent payments.

I do appreciate this is a difficult situation for both of us and I hope that we can work together to come to an arrangement.

Rent is a priority debt. That means you need to pay it before you pay for some of your other outgoings. Find out how to deal with rent arrears if your debts are increasing.


Last updated: 14 August 2020

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