As the nation is on lock down we are all under extreme pressure of the unknown and how will this effect my investment. The government is rapidly announcing changes on how this affect us in the renting sector and we will aim to bring you up to date blogs as soon as the announcements are made. Please follow us on Facebook to see our up to date blogs @Aspiretomove.
What if a tenant cannot afford to pay rent?
This is the most common concern at present for landlords. We feel the key here is open communication with your tenant. Given the current situation, it would be right to assume that a significant number of tenants may encounter some financial difficulties in the coming months. The contractual obligation to pay rent will still remain throughout the duration unless the Government intervention is applied. We would recommend looking at the following options to ensure you can be financially sound during this period :
- Mortgage holiday – if you have a mortgage on the property contact your lender and see if you are eligible to release some financial burden
- Universal credit – The first point of call for your tenant is to see if they can apply for this via the government link
- Payment Plans – If you are faced with a tenant that cannot pay rent, we would recommend asking them to provide a payment plan of what they can afford to pay each month and how once all resumes they will pay the accrued debt back. Ensure they have cut back everything else and if necessary ask to see bank statements to accompany the payment plan.
Can I still evict a tenant during this time?
If a landlord was to consider issuing a tenant who falls into arrears with a possession notice, then the government has provided some brief details on how they are going to protect the tenants in the short term. The government has proposed to ban a landlord from commencing new court proceedings and potentially a 3 month notice period.
If the proposed bill is passed as it is drafted it does not prevent landlords from continuing with proceedings already issued, commencing proceedings on an expired notice or applying for a bailiff. Unfortunately, whether the courts will hear these cases and whether bailiffs will now proceed with evictions in light of this bill is unclear. Contacting the courts is currently quite difficult no doubt due to staff shortages and the advice to those that work that they should only go to work if absolutely necessary.
In addition, the Government has added a further obligation upon the landlord, that before commencement of proceedings they provide evidence that they have explored all available options to allow the tenant to remain in occupation. Failure to provide such evidence could result in the Court proceedings being dismissed by the judge.
If you have any questions as a landlord or a tenant? Contact the team at Aspire today by emailing or calling us – Business as usual.
Next update……. Legal responsibilities for a landlord during COVID-19 – remember to like our page to receive up to date blogs and news.