A newly launched service to help resolve rent arrears issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially prevent tenants from being evicted and save landlords and tenants hundreds of pounds in court fees.
TDS Resolution has been launched by The Dispute Service (TDS), a not-for-profit company which also runs a number of government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes.
The service, TDS Resolution, endorsed by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), has been developed in response to some of the measures put in place to protect tenants during the outbreak.
At the moment, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants, a government ruling introduced as part of emergency coronavirus legislation in March, that has now been extended until 23 August.
In May, research by the Resolution Foundation found that one in eight private tenants may have fallen behind with rent since the pandemic began and, in some cases, have stopped paying what they owe completely. However, landlords are now unable to take legal action.
TDS Chief Executive Steve Harriott said: “In a world where some tenants are in arrears, we felt a service that would bring tenants and landlords together to help negotiate a rent repayment plan would be of real value.
“Our experienced and skilled team already provides a fair and impartial adjudication process for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits we protect. We deal with around 20,000 disputes a year across the UK and quite often we can resolve up to 40 per cent of these each month by using our telephone-based early resolution service.
“We’re excited to be launching this service, which we’re sure will help landlords and tenants find a mutually agreeable way to deal with the tenant’s rent arrears, rather than pursuing the costly and time-consuming route of court.”
TDS Resolution is charging a fee of £150 plus VAT for landlords for the full service, but the initial contact with the tenant is free of charge.
The NRLA’s Chief Executive Ben Beadle said: “We expect that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the market.
“Whilst our research shows that the majority of tenants are continuing to pay their rent as normal, we know that some are facing financial difficulties leading to rent arrears as a result of the virus. In such circumstances we want to support landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible. Our recently published Debt Guidance toolkit will help achieve this.
“The TDS Resolution service will provide an additional, valuable service to help broker a fair arrears repayment plan without the need to go to court.”
The Dispute Service is a not-for-profit company which means it continuously invests surpluses into raising industry standards with excellent service levels, quicker call response times, user-friendly technology and faster dispute resolutions.
TDS Resolve can be accessed here at www.thedisputeservice.com/tdsresolution