|June 21, 2021||No Comments|
The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive effect on the private rental market in the UK. Surveys estimate that almost one in three of all renters who have fallen behind with their payments now owe more than £1,000, while landlords have also been affected as their rental revenue has either dried up or been drastically reduced.
At the end of May 2021, the ban on evictions from rented properties due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end. Many tenants were unable to pay their rent because they were unable to work, while some landlords relied on payments to meet their own mortgages.
Estate agents Maunder Taylor specialise in property dispute advice and have offices in Whetstone and Potters Bar. Here we look at what happens now, what the exceptions are, and what you should do if you are a tenant or a landlord who is in financial difficulty.
The three steps are the same – tenants will be given Notice by their landlord or managing agent; this will be confirmed by the courts, who will then appoint bailiffs to carry out the eviction.
Tenants will be exempt from eviction if they can show that they, or anyone they live with, has symptoms of coronavirus, tested positive for the illness, or been told to self-isolate as someone they have been in contact with has tested positive. They should tell the bailiffs about their state of health – this will ensure there are two weeks’ grace before the process can proceed.
Provided notice was given after 1st June, tenants should still have four months to find somewhere else or pay off their arrears. (Before 1st June, six months’ notice was required). This is provided you owe less than four months’ rent. Landlords can give a shorter notice if the arrears are higher than this, or if they believe you are guilty of anti-social behaviour.
Different rules apply in different parts of the UK. In Wales evictions are banned until 30th June, and in Scotland the ban lasts until 30th September provided the property is under level 3 or level 4 coronavirus restrictions.
If you are a tenant who is still in financial difficulty, then the Government advises you to talk directly to your landlord about the situation. This could include suspending or reducing rental payments in the short term. This could benefit landlords as well, as it could prove less expensive than re-letting the property in the short term and also avoids potentially costly court action.
Consumers’ association Which? recommends tenants check to see if they are eligible for financial support, as the Housing Allowance and Universal Credit have been increased to cover housing costs. The Government has made £180 million available to local councils to provide discretionary payments to tenants who are struggling to pay their rent. You should check with your local authority to find out if you are eligible.
Landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay the rent can no longer apply for mortgage payment holidays. However, a range of tailored support measures are being offered by the banks and financial institutions, including temporarily pausing payments, reducing the interest on the loan or extending the term of the mortgage.
The Government has worked with the National Residential Landlords’ Association to produce a guide on managing arrears and avoiding court action in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Maunder Taylor act on behalf of both landlords and tenants and appreciate how important it is for both parties to come to an amicable agreement regarding any rent arrears. We offer property dispute advice for cases in Whetstone, Totteridge, Barnet, Potters Bar and the surrounding area.
If a satisfactory solution cannot be found, and a legal solution is the only way of resolving any dispute, then we give independent, impartial evidence to courts, tribunals and at arbitrations.
We can also help you with property investment and insurance, valuations, commercial property management and lease renewals advice in Hertfordshire and London. If you would like to know more about our services, you can follow this link and fill in the online form. You can also contact our Whetstone office on 020 8446 0011, or, if you have any residential management queries, our Potters Bar office on 01707 665 666.