With people asked to work from home and business of all sizes (other than essential shops) ordered to close, workers face uncertain times. To protect both social and private renters, the Government’s measures means that landlords cannot start a new eviction process for at least three months.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP 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.”
Recognising the additional pressures the coronavirus may put on landlords, the Government has extended the three-month mortgage payment holiday to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus. This will relieve the pressure on landlords who are concerned about meeting their mortgage repayments.
The Government will also issue guidance which asks landlords to show compassion and to allow tenants who are affected to remain in their homes wherever possible.
From today (26 March), the Coronavirus Act extends the notice period required for possession from two months to three months. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together and communicate, as this affects both tenants and landlords alike.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action urges landlords not to evict tenants: “ There is concern that the Coronavirus Act, previously thought to completely ban evictions for the next three months, does not prevent landlords from serving a notice of intention to possess. It only extends the notice period that a landlord is required to serve on a tenant from two months to three months.
“However, I would point out that ongoing cases are already being adjourned, court buildings are closing, and evictions cancelled. This morning, the London Bailiff Centre contacted us [at Landlord Action] to say all evictions in March and April have been postponed and we have even had Section 21 possession claims sent back to us in the post. In reality, landlords may not be gaining possession of their property until the end of the year because of the new legislation change and delays to the court system, so I would advise landlords to work with their tenants as much as possible.
“I would also urge tenants to realise that the vast majority of landlords are small property owners with one or two properties. Their ability to prop tenants up will be limited too, especially if their own circumstances have changed.
“The new measures do not end a tenant’s liability for rental payments, just as a mortgage holiday for landlords does not exempt them from repaying the bank, it simply delays it. That is why it is in the best interests of all tenants and landlords to work together, understand each other’s limitations and establish a reasonable payment and review plan when the time is right.”