If you are a landlord of private residential property then you may unfortunately be faced with problematic tenants. In these circumstances we appreciate that it is essential to find both a practical and legal resolution to these issues as swiftly as possible.
How do I fulfil my duties as landlord and adhere to social distancing?
You are still required to fulfil your legal responsibilities as a landlord. Providing and maintaining safe and decent accommodation, providing those certificates demanded by law and abiding by your side of the tenancy agreement.
The Government is encouraging landlords and tenants to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues and recommends that access to a property is only proposed for serious and urgent issues.
Landlords are still obliged to provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certifications required. However, there is a little flexibility with this as well.
There are provisions in both regulations to account for situations in which a landlord cannot fulfill their duties but you must demonstrate that you have taken all of the reasonable steps to comply with the law. and also keep records of your actions.
What can I do if my tenant is in rent arrears due to Coronavirus?
As always, it is sensible to be pro-active in this situation. Contact your tenants to discuss their financial circumstances.
It is important that your tenant understands that any rent that is deferred during this period will still be expected to be paid back later as part of a payment arrangement. You may be able to offer guidance on the different types of support available to them be able to continue payments. Depending on the response that you receive from your tenant you may also consider applying for a mortgage payment holiday.
If needed, there are still legal procedures available to you but the Coronavirus Act 2020 has extended time-frames of notice periods and widened the pre-action protocol for possession claims to encourage more contact and exchange of information between landlords and tenants.