COVID19 - Rental Advice
Updated 20 May 2020
Drastic times necessitate drastic measures. As such, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we've seen many such changes happen to our nation's housing laws. These are temporary changes for the good of the economy and public health.
Still, this has many tenants and landlords confused and in desperate need of COVID-19 rental advice. That's where we come in.
We've written you this guide as an overview of the 2020 Coronavirus Act. In it, you'll learn who it applies to, how tenants are protected, and how landlords are impacted.
For all the answers you've been looking for, read this quick guide on renting in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Rent, Mortgage Payments, and Possession Proceedings
First and foremost, let's talk about how the Coronavirus Act of 2020 has impacted monthly housing payments and possession proceedings. Here are the answers to some questions you may have.
How Has the Coronavirus Act of 2020 Affected Possession Proceedings?
The notification period required before landlords can start possession proceedings has been extended to 3 months under the 2020 Coronavirus Act. Tenants who are struggling financially due to Coronavirus now have more time to relocate if evicted.
Should Tenants Stop Paying Rent During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, most tenants are still able to afford their rent. So, if a tenant can still pay rent, then they should.
If a tenant is having trouble paying rent because of the outbreak they should discuss it with their landlord as soon as possible. As stated, the landlord and tenant now have a 3-month window in which to get the situation sorted. Also, such tenants should check if their financial problems qualify them for Universal Credit.
What About Mortgage Repayments?
Those who are financially impacted by Coronavirus can get a payment holiday for up to 3 months from their mortgage lender. However, interest is still accrued as normal during this period.
What About Shared Owners?
Since shared owners pay a mortgage and/or rent, both of the above points apply. They can be allowed a 3-month holiday from their mortgage payments. They also have 3 months until their landlord can start possession proceedings.
Shared owners should still continue paying what they owe if possible.
Should Landlords Stop Charging Rent For Now?
This is not required of landlords and, as most tenants can still pay, shouldn't be necessary. If non-payment due to Coronavirus is an issue, landlords can make arrangements with their tenants during the 3-month eviction notice window at their discretion. Most landlords and tenants will find that its best for everyone right now to be flexible about such things.
How Does Extending the 'Pre-Action Protocol' on Possession Proceedings Affect Private Landlords?
Currently, this extension only applies to Social Landlords. The government and the Master of Rolls are still in the process of attempting to include private renters under this same guideline.
Are Those With a Licence to Occupy Protected by the Coronavirus Act?
No, the act only applies to true tenants. However, those with a secure license (protected by the Housing Act of 1985) do fall under the protection of the Coronavirus Act.
2. Court Action on Housing Possession Cases During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Lord Chancellor and the Master of Rolls have suspended all housing possession cases for 90 days as of 27th March. All landlords are advised not to begin any new possession proceedings at this time except in extreme circumstances.
3. What to Do About Rent Arrears?
This falls into the aforementioned category of renters who are struggling to pay rent. As mentioned, it will work out best for everyone to be flexible. Landlords and tenants should try to make temporary arrangements other than eviction until this crisis is over.
Tenants, don't be afraid to seek legal help if you're in danger of eviction. You may be protected under this new act.
4. Protections For Tenants Under the 2020 Coronavirus Act of 2020
To sum up tenant protections under the Coronavirus Act of 2020:
- The notice period of a possession proceeding is extended to 90 days
- Those protected include true tenants plus secure licensees
- During a 90-day period that started 27th March 2020, all possession proceedings already started or scheduled to begin are suspended
- After the 90-day notice period has ended, landlords need a court order to begin possession proceedings
Furthermore, the Lord Chief Justice has moved to prioritise the suspension of possession proceedings that may impact public health during this pandemic.
Keep This COVID-19 Rental Advice Guide
We're hopeful that better times are ahead. But in case it gets harder before it gets easier, don't forget this COVID-19 rental advice guide. Bookmark it and refer to it if you are experiencing problems with your housing situation.
If you have any more questions or needs concerning rental advice or legal help, please contact us.
How KG Accountants can help
- Help and assist you to fully comply with the government guidelines on managing the risk of Covid19.
- Forecasting – both for your own planning and for the business loan applications.
- Help prepare simple cash flow monitoring tool to ensure your road to recovery is as smooth as possible.
- How to set up a payment plan with HMRC.
- Businesses who have negotiated a rent holiday.
- Our regular blog on how you can get funding during this pandemic.
- Everything you need to know on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and furloughing.
- Managing your personal finances – our financial planning team’s top tips.
- If there’s anything else you need help with not listed above, please ask, and we’ll find a way.
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