UK Property in news
There are a number of COVID 19 support measures announced for landlords and tenants by the government. Full details are available here
- From (26 March 2020) landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period. This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the endpoint, and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed.
- Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available. In the first instance, they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context, we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme. However, we have also put specific measures in place:
- We are working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and also extend this to the private rented sector. This will help landlords and tenants to agree on reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.
- We have already made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship.
- As part of the workers’ support package, the Chancellor announced the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month, where workers are placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.
- Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made. An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.