Coronavirus: renters and landlords support
On 28 March 2020 the government published guidance for landlords and tenants (PDF 274 KB) on the rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The government has so far announced measures to protect renters and landlords:
- Emergency legislation is being taken forward to stop new evictions of tenants from social or private rented accommodation. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation should worry about the threat of eviction for at least the next three months.
- Landlords cannot make an application to the courts for possession of a property during the crisis. The government has included “private renters” in this ‘pre-action protocol’ and they will be protected from possession proceedings during this time.
- Landlords will be protected as they can apply for a 3-month mortgage payment holiday to their Buy to Let mortgage lender. This will help landlords to meet mortgage payments themselves and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.
- The government will also issue guidance which asks landlords to show understanding at this time and to allow tenants who are affected by this to remain in their homes. At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to set up an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances. The NLA has produced a guide on how to access financial support. This guide is useful for both landlords and tenants.
- Landlords and agents managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) and tenants living in HMO’s or other shared accommodation can find advice to assist with cleaning/disinfecting accommodation and general hygiene standards in non-healthcare settings such as HMO’s, hostels and other shared accommodation.
- Tenants in shared accommodation who are self-isolating should follow the Government's advice, to minimise the risk of infecting others. This is particularly important where individuals are sharing facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. It’s also important that tenants in shared properties let the property manager know if they have symptoms, the property manager can then let fellow tenants know. As per government advice, the whole household should now self-isolate for 14 days. The NLA have compiled a useful guide to help minimise health risks in rented accommodation.
- If you are facing financial hardship the council can provide assistance in the form of discretionary housing payments and food vouchers.
- If a landlord has a tenant who receives housing benefit and the tenant has missed a rent payment, landlords should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8708 5690 as soon as the first payment has been missed and we will consider immediate re-direction of payments
- Tenants can choose to have their housing benefit re-directed to their landlords through choice only – this may assist them with budgeting, remove concerns about homelessness and assist with social isolating if they normally have to go out to make their rent payments
- Landlords are encouraged to sign up for the landlord portal to gain online access