Here we'll answer your most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click below to view PDFs regarding viewing guidance.
Some agents/landlords have experienced tenants that have agreed tenancies but are pulling out before they take up occupation. Tenants may seek to do this for a number of reasons. Some tenants may have been caught by travel restrictions and unable to travel to the UK, others may have seen a job offer withdrawn or a course cancelled. It is unlikely that we could enforce the terms of the agreement in these circumstances.
Some tenants may ask to end their tenancy early. Typically, this can occur where a university or college has suspended courses or teaching or a job contract has ended unexpectedly or without notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. While we legally could enforce the terms of the tenancy and claim rent for the remaining period, it may be better to negotiate an end to the tenancy with the tenant or arrange a rent holiday with the tenant.
Anyone self-isolating is advised to avoid any visitors to their home. This may affect our ability to inspect properties or organise maintenance or repairs, such as Gas Safe inspections. In these circumstances, we will keep a dialogue going with tenant. We will document the reason we cannot carry out the check. We will also ask the tenant to explain in an email or writing that they are self-isolating and that they are advised not to allow visitors to the property. We will then book an inspection for as soon as possible after the tenant has completed the self-isolation period If we need access for a repair, we need to make a judgement on the urgency of the situation, for example, if there is an immediate risk to safety. If there is an immediate risk, we will attempt all possible steps to complete the repair. Essential works, such as water supply, sanitation and heating failure will still need to be addressed. We have advised our trades people to follow advice on social distancing.
While demand for rental property and requests for viewings are likely to fall, some people will still need to move and will be looking for properties to let. We are seeking to minimise face-to-face contact as much as possible. Where a property is vacant we have created a video walk-round and will conduct virtual viewing instead of in-person viewings. Where the property is currently tenanted, then the current tenant has the right to refuse access for viewings. It may be necessary to wait until the property is vacant before allowing viewings in any case, especially where the tenant falls into a higher risk category. Alternatively, the current tenant may be happy for us to enter the property to make a video for virtual viewings.
Based on the wording of the announcement, it should still be possible to serve a notice as the suspension is on starting possession proceedings in court rather than serving notices.
However, it is not advised to serve a notice at this time and landlords should wait for further updates and guidance on this topic. The legislation has not been published yet and further details will shed light on this.
No maximum time frames have been outlined for this suspension, however, it will last at least three months.
Based on the wording of the announcement, the suspension only seems to prevent new applications to court being made.
Further details on this will come when the emergency legislation is passed. In the meantime the RLA and NLA are seeking clarification on this point from the Government.
Emergency legislation to suspend repossessions from social or private rented accommodation during the national emergency.
No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis.
Any possession proceedings brought after the ban is complete will have to follow the pre-action protocol for social landlords.
UK Finance have confirmed that ‘firms will make every effort to ensure that the payment holiday does not negatively impact on your credit file.’
While payments are suspended for the duration of the mortgage holiday interest will continue to accrue on the mortgage and those mortgage payments will eventually have to be made up. Your mortgage lender will be able to discuss options with you to help repay the additional interest accrued.
Mortgage lenders have agreed that landlords may contact their lender to self-certify that their tenant has been impacted. This is only done on the understanding this mortgage holiday will be passed down to their tenants.
Mortgage holidays are only available to people who are up to date with their payments. However, from 19th March 2020 mortgage lenders have agreed to suspend all possession orders and not start any new court actions for 90 days.
For buy to let landlords the key criteria is that their tenant must have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus. The other key criteria is that you must be up to date on your current mortgage payments.
UK Finance recommend you contact your lender to discuss your options as soon as possible.
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