Many landlords are anxious about the Coronavirus pandemic and how this could affect their tenants. In this article, we have collected a quick summary of the first questions that come to mind being a landlord in these uncertain times. The UK government are doing everything they can to make you feel more comfortable. Read the information below, receive the answers to your questions and know the rights you are entitled to.
Worried about paying your mortgage?
If your income is affected by COVID-19 and you are worried about paying your mortgage, speak to your lender or mortgage broker as soon as possible. Many lenders have announced help for borrowers who are facing a drop in income. These may include:
- allowing a 3 month payment holiday
- not adding fees for late-payments
- switching to a lower interest rate
- not applying to the court to repossess borrowers.
Speak to your lender to find out what support they’re offering.
Worried about Tenants paying rent
If your tenants advised you that their income is affected by COVID-19 and you are worried about them, and their rental payments try to be sympathetic to their situation and discuss with them possible solutions:
- a reduction in their rent for a specific period
- a rent ‘holiday’ for a short term with the view that their rent will increase after it
- agree that they pay any arrears that build up at a later date at an affordable rate.
Make sure to get the agreement in writing and try to sort out the situation amicably. Be in touch with your tenants on a regular basis.
If the tenant is getting housing benefit or universal credit housing costs, they should report any changes to their income to the housing benefit department or the DWP through their online UC journal. Their benefit will usually increase if they report an income drop promptly. If the tenant is struggling to pay their rent, they can apply for a discretionary housing payment:
- housing benefit or
- universal credit housing costs.
Benefits for tenants
Check if your tenants could qualify for benefits or statutory sick pay if:
- if they lose their job
- if they can’t work because they’re sick or self-isolating
- their pay goes down because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Find out more about what they can claim on the entitledto website.
Can your tenants get help paying
their other bills?
Suggest them to speak to their energy suppliers if they’re struggling financially or in arrears with gas or electricity bills. They could get support, including:
- reduced bills or debt repayments
- a temporary break in their bills or debt arrangements.
If they have a pre-payment meter, they may be able to, for example:
- add credit to their account automatically
- arrange for someone else to top up their meter.
Can you, as the Landlord evict the Tenant during COVID-19?
The Government announced Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place. This means that the landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least 3 months.
Please read here for more information about the ban on evictions.
Landlord access to their property
As a landlord, you should agree to postpone non-essential visits, such as:
- routine tenancy inspections
- viewings towards the end of the tenancy.
Though as a landlord, you have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak. The tenants should report repairs by phone, email or online. You should assess the problem and if it is urgent, fix it without unreasonable delays.
More detailed information for Tenants and Landlords can be found here.
We understand that during these unprecedented times, it might be challenging to keep up with all the legislative changes and remain focused on the correct decisions. Should you require guidance or help, we are more than happy to assist you.
Feel free to call Nataliya on +44 (0) 7553109657 or contact us via email at email@example.com
Stay Home. Stay Safe.
UK Property Advisors