12 Oct 2020

Most tenants claim they are “intimidated” when agents or landlords telephone them about arrears – and they would much prefer a text.

Warned Phil Turtle, compliance director with Landlord Licensing & Defence “Thus is potentially scary for landlords as “Intimidation or harassment is one of the reasons that tenants are persuaded to apply for Rent Repayment Orders claiming back 12 months rent from their landlord. Councils up and down the land advise tenants to take this punitive measure abasing heir landlords!”

This small research project amongst 200 tenants and conducted by a PropTech firm found that 57 per cent opposed direct telephone calls about the money they owed, with 62 per cent preferring texts instead. 

On top of that, 69 per cent said they would welcome “a flexible payment option to help reduce rental arrears and manage future payments.”

PayPoint, which commissioned the research, says it’s now up to agents and landlords to change their communications to fall in line.

A spokesman says: “Up and down the country, people are finding new ways to manage financial situations. A big part of that is how they are handling overdue and approaching payments. It is crucial that both private and social landlords tune in to the current market and offer tenants innovative solutions such as flexible payment plans and simple transaction processes. Landlords must also adopt a sympathetic approach to communicating.”

A statement from the company claims lettings agencies could accommodate these tenant preferences by “small adjustments” to how they work.

It adds: “With concerns surrounding overdue rent particularly high, it seems that many renters would welcome a gentle nudge, in the form of a text message or email, to remind them of arrears or approaching payments.”

It goes on to say: “The majority of respondents (69 per cent) would welcome a flexible payment option to help reduce rental arrears and manage their future payments … Being able to speak to someone from the tenants’ housing association or letting agencies, who is understanding of the individual’s financial situation, was also important to renters, with 78 per cent saying this would help them manage their finances.”

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