02/04/2020

The government has issued detailed guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

The non-statutory guidance covers measures relating to notices seeking possession, court action on possession cases and property access and health and safety obligations during the Coronavirus restrictions.

Key points to note include:

  • Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings until 30 September 2020 unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice.
  • Housing possession cases in the courts are being suspended. This affects new or existing claims for possession for a 90-day period from 27 March.
  • During the current period, the Lord Chief Justice has said that applications to suspend warrants of possession should be prioritised, and that judges dealing with any possession claim must have in mind the public health guidance and should not make an order that risks impacting on public health.

Tenants are advised to:

  • continue to pay their rent.
  • speak to their landlord immediately if they need support.
  • speak to their local authority if they are worried about being evicted and not having anywhere else to go.

For landlords and shared owners who have a mortgage, some safeguards have been put in place:

  • Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months for buy-to-let mortgages where this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship. The sum owed remains and mortgages continue to accrue interest during this period
  • Shared owners pay both rent and a mortgage. Like other mortgage holders, shared owners who are struggling to meet their mortgage payments as a result of Covid-19 will be able to request a mortgage payment holiday from their lender. Most shared owners will also be covered by the new Coronavirus Act 2020, meaning their landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given shared owners three-month’s notice.
  • Shared owners should continue to meet their financial commitments where possible. The government has introduced a strong package of financial support, so where they can, shared owners should still pay the rent to their landlord and mortgage to their lender as normal. Shared owners who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord and mortgage provider at the earliest opportunity

For advice on landlord and tenant issues phone 01782 205000 or email enquiry@beswicks.com