The Coronavirus Act 2020 and further government guidance have introduced a number of tenant friendly measures in order to lessen the impact of the pandemic.

Covid-19 – Impact upon Residential Landlords

The government’s overriding intention is that during the pandemic, no renter in either social or private accommodation, should be forced out of their home.

Notice Periods

In general, landlords will be required to give all tenants 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession. This applies from 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020.

This relates to most tenants in the private and social rented sectors and on all grounds of eviction including Section 21 and Section 8.

After 3 months if the tenant has not voluntarily vacated then the landlord will need to apply to court for an order for possession in the usual way.

Possession Actions

From 27 March 2020, all ongoing housing possession actions are suspended. This means that no possession orders will be granted for at least a 90-day period from 27 March 2020. The measures protect a majority of private and social tenants as well as homeowners subject to mortgage possession actions.

No new possession actions may be commenced. The pre-action protocol for possession proceedings is to be widened and guidance provided to landlords dealing with tenants non-payment of rent and other issues during this period. However, no specific rules or guidance have yet been provided.  

Mortgage Holidays

Most lenders have agreed to a 3-month mortgage holiday for residential buy to let mortgages. Missing payments will simply be added to the mortgage with interest.

Access for Repairs

Government guidance confirms that landlord’s repairing obligations continue and that tenants can expect to rent legally compliant properties. Subject to public health considerations landlords are expected to deal with urgent repairs but both landlords and tenants are expected to take a pragmatic and common sense approach to non-urgent repairs and maintenance.

Government Guidance

The government’s guidance can be found by CLICKING HERE

Analysis

The above measures may mean that landlords will be increasingly reliant on their insurance policies or otherwise having to negotiate payment plans with their tenants rather then proceed with possession actions based upon non-payment of rent.

Landlords repair liabilities continue but non-urgent repairs (subject to health considerations) are unlikely to be required during the lockdown period of the pandemic.

Further Information

Should you require any further information regarding landlord and tenant issues, please do not hesitate to contact Bill Dhariwal, Managing Director, Lawcomm Solicitors, DDI: 01489 864 117, E: bill.dhariwal@lawcomm.co.uk

The above article was written on 30 March 2020 and does not constitute legal advice.