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Shelter Charity’s advice to tenants on winning a rent reduction

Dec 15th 2020

The campaigning charity Shelter, is offering private rental sector tenants, advice on how to negotiate a rent reduction during the remaining period of the pandemic.

The advice appears in an article on Vice, an online publication aimed at young readers. 

The Shelter advice comes in the form of a response to a reader’s request for information on how to reduce their rent following a cut in their income thanks to Covid 19. The initial part of Shelter’s guidance is emphatic.

Any reduction should be negotiated by email and definitely not verbally.

* Make sure you get any agreement in writing, including how long it will apply and whether any outstanding rent will be paid back later. When you contact your landlord, start by explaining to them why you’re struggling with your rent. If your income has reduced for specific reasons, let them know. Most landlords are likely to be sympathetic and receptive. 

* It’s also worth being clear about what outcome you want from the negotiation. Be straightforward about what rent you think you can afford and what conditions will apply if they do agree to a reduction. 

* There is also a suggestion that a tenant should show some understanding about the landlord’s position – although this will be the last thing you feel like considering. Your landlord will probably have outgoings that your rent would usually cover, so it’s good to show you understand this. 

Most landlords’ concern is that the full rent will eventually be paid, so offer them reassurance about this if you can.

If you can also let them know what steps you’re taking to stabilise your income, they may be more willing to come to an agreement.