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 from 21 September the courts start to deal with evictions again.

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.

Your message should explain:

  • your payment proposal
  • why you are struggling with rent
  • what you are doing to address your situation
  • 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.

Use our template letter tool

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Once you're done, click copy text to clipboard. Make sure you check your letter before you send it.

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How to start

You could say something like:

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

The government and the National Residential Landlords Association are asking landlords to show compassion and where possible to allow additional time to pay the rent and agree alternative payment plans.

Your payment proposal

Think about a realistic proposal.

For example, if you still have some income you could propose to pay half your rent.

I'm making a proposal to

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

You should adjust these points to reflect your situation.

Why you are struggling with rent

Explain your current situation. For example:

Because of the coronavirus outbreak

  • I've lost my job
  • I'm on reduced pay
  • I can't continue with my self-employed work

Add details that are relevant and explain the situation in full.

What you are doing about it

Explain what you're doing to try and increase your income or if you expect a change in circumstances. For example:

  • I've applied for benefits and am waiting for my first payment
  • I'm actively seeking new work

Include helpful details. For example:

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

If you are self employed you could say:

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

If you have been furloughed you could say:

I've been placed on the government's Job Retention Scheme. This is a temporary scheme. I will be able to pay off my rent arrears when I return to my full income. I will be touch with you when my income changes to arrange a repayment plan.

You can update your landlord on the situation later if you do not go back to full pay.

Keeping in contact

Explain that you will keep your landlord up to date on the situation and that you are willing to negotiate future rent payments.

Say something like:

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.

Ending the letter

You could say something like:

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.


Last updated 14 August 2020 | © Shelter

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