Impact of COVID-19 on landlords and tenants
Update 27th March 2020: Latest guidance from the Government issued 26th March – please note this supersedes the article below.
The justice system in England and Wales is facing an unprecedented situation and to say that this is affecting both landlords and tenants would be an understatement.
You have no doubt been following the recent Government guidelines regarding evictions, but we will summarise the key points for you below. Please do however bear in mind that these are ever-changing and you should monitor this closely over the coming weeks and months.
If your case is already within the Courts, it is not clear whether these evictions will still go ahead. Blackpool and Wigan have confirmed they will adjourn all new possession hearings. We anticipate that this will be followed by Medway, Dartford and Barnet.
It is especially important to remember that unlawfully evicting a tenant is illegal and Covid-19 does not change this. If you are a tenant and you feel you are being illegally evicted, please contact us for advice using the details at the end of this article.
For landlords who want to evict a tenant
If you are a landlord, we urge you to open a dialogue with your tenant. These are trying times for everybody and for the sake of keeping your tenant housed, it may be worth coming to a temporary arrangement with them and in turn, your mortgage lender. Please do remember that if you come to an agreement with your tenant during this time, it is highly recommended that you get it in writing.
Landlords, you may also be aware that most of the UK’s leading insurers and brokers have halted the business of any new rent guarantee insurance. The difficulty in such policies is the requirement for possession proceedings to be initiated before any rent guarantee can be claimed. This is of course next to impossible in the current climate. If you are intending to rely on any rent guarantee insurance that you currently have in place, please take specific advice from your broker.
As well as impacting the Courts and Solicitors in turn, Estate Agents are expected to see a massive change in both how they work and the volume of work. We urge you not to panic and follow the Government guidelines as closely as you can.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts”. We urge you therefore not to panic during this time. However If you are in any doubt of your obligations as either a landlord or tenant, please contact us on 0114 220 1795 or at firstname.lastname@example.org