With the country on lockdown, people are losing their jobs or being forced to go on leave, the spread of COVID-19 is raising questions for landlords. This blog aims to help you get all the information you need in regards to lettings and this pandemic.
If your tenant has been financially impacted by the virus, as a landlord, you can apply for a three month buy-to-let mortgage holiday. Mortgage providers have agreed to let landlords self-certify that their tenants have been affected and on the understanding this holiday will be passed down to tenants. The financial burden can therefore be lifted temporarily on both parties.
In addition to mortgage holidays, employers can access a HMRC grant that covers 80% of their worker’s salary up to £2,500 in order keep employees when operations are shut down. There is also support for those who are self-employed or freelancers. Anyone who doesn’t benefit from these schemes can apply for universal credit.
Gas safety inspections are able to continue as they are deemed as key workers during the coronavirus crisis. Everyone involved must practice social distancing and be careful at the time of the inspection. Landlords have been encouraged by GasSafe to organise an inspection as there are a limited number of inspectors and there may be issues with tenants being struck ill. If it’s not possible to book an appointment, landlords need to make sure this is documented and that they have made a reasonable attempt by contacting at least 5 or 6 inspectors.
If the tenant refuses access to the property for any reason, it’s imperative landlords attempt to rearrange the appointment as soon as possible and document this process too.
If student tenants have returned to their parents’ homes, they may try to demand a refund of rent or an end to their contact. This is entirely up to you. It’s important to note that your contracts are still binding in these cases and you would be within your legal rights to continue your contract.
This is a very uncertain time for everyone, including landlords. The guidelines by the government should help landlords be able to continue their business and retain goodwill with tenants. Please keep safe and well during this difficult time.