April 1, 2020

COVID-19: Advice for Residential Landlords

Written by Del Cudd

Whether you rent one property or have a portfolio of properties, the coronavirus is having a huge impact on society, and it’s no different for landlords.

With many people unable to work, tenants may be finding it difficult to pay their rent and as such, Landlords, in turn, are also suffering.

While the Government have stepped in to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords who may have sought to evict them during this challenging time, the support appears mainly on the side of the tenant.

The Coronavirus Act received Royal Assent on 27th March and provides that during the period beginning on that date and expiring on the 30th September 2020 any notice to quit served on a tenant must allow for three months. 

On the following day, the Lord Chancellor announced that any court proceedings relating to eviction proceedings would be, effectively, held in abeyance for 90 days.

The above periods may, of course, be extended if the effects of the virus are with us for longer than is currently anticipated, but what options are currently available to you?

Mortgage Holidays

Many lenders are offering three-months holiday from paying mortgages (buy-to-let included), so our first advice would be to discuss this with your mortgage provider or broker.

Bear in mind that your mortgage repayments are likely to increase (as the term of your mortgage remains the same), so you may want us to review your tenancy agreements if you intend to increase the rent you charge.

It is important to note that you will need to offer your tenant a rent holiday if you have been granted a mortgage payment holiday.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employers have been encouraged by the Government to retain employees and have offered to pay 80% of wages up to £2500 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you employ staff to manage your property portfolio, this option is worth visiting.

Self-employed individuals can also claim a one-off lump sum of up to 80% of their profits (three-year average) or £2500 per month (whichever is the lesser). Click here for the Government’s advice on help available during the outbreak. 

Bad Tenants / Need to Sell The Rental Property

For many Landlords, The Coronavirus Act means that if you have a troublesome tenant, you may be unable to evict them.  

In addition, you may need to sell a rental property to help your own financial situation; however, once more, the Act seems to prevent this.

That said, this is a fluid and fast-moving situation, and we strongly recommend contacting us to discuss your problem as soon as possible as we are here to help.

The Coronavirus Act may have amendments made to it over the coming weeks, so by talking to us early, we can prepare a legal case to have the property returned to you.

At the very least, we will be ready to act quickly once the three month period is over and can initiate the eviction process on 1st October 2020 (subject to any extensions).

To discuss this or any other legal matter, please call 01792 450010 or email [email protected].

While we are unable to meet clients face-to-face, we are available via telephone, email and multiple web-based meeting platforms to discuss your legal needs and find a solution.

Peter Lynn and Partners Solicitors.

Preventing Legal Problems.