iHowz (formerly the Southern Landlords Association) have summarised some very useful advice for landlords on everything from how do you go about Gas Safety inspections when a tenant is self-isolating to what are the new rules on eviction. (Thanks to iHowz for allowing us to share) This has been updated with links to the NRLA webinar and information on this topic.
The iHowz update for Coronavirus March 2020 (This was sent this to all current and ex-members of that association. Subsequent updates will only go to members).
The Government have stated that no tenant will be evicted because of the Coronavirus.
Currently we do not have any actual news on this but anticipate (i.e. guess, not know for certain) they will stop the use of Section 21, and Section 8, Grounds 8;10 & 11.
We don't anticipate this will be backdated, so any cases going through will probably be allowed to continue.
Keep an eye on the news section for any updates.
We have been getting unprecedented calls to the help-line from members concerned that the tenants are being given a rent holiday.
This is most certainly not the case; the Government are keen to ensure any tenant who is suffering financial hardship as a direct effect of the coronavirus outbreak will not suffer unnecessarily.
In fact the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "The government is clear - no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.
"These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time."
Steps to take:-
Remember the Government:-
So most tenants won't suffer a total loss of income leading to them being unable to pay all their rents.
Most of all, communicate; communicate; communicate.
If you do suffer from some loss of rent we suggest you take the following steps with your tenant(s):-
Other considerations for your tenants are those who have to self isolate, especially any who have no-one to help them.
On the rare occasions you can find food in the shops can you do their shopping as well, or help them apply for home delivery (assuming you can now find one).
Establish whether they need their medicines renewed. If they are not able/willing to apply online you might be able to drop their repeat prescription off at the surgery; put a note on it that the applicant is self isolating.
If you can email your tenants, then send them the link to NHS advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or consider printing it and dropping copies off at the property.
If you are running an HMO try to encourage the tenants to stay in their own room, and to ensure they don't share crockery; cutlery; towels, etc.
Other financial considerations for landlords:-
Finally, don't forget you still have to maintain your property.
If your gas safety inspection is due soon don't forget you can get it done up to two months before it expires, but you have to inform the engineer of the expiry date, they won't automatically check like when you get your MoT renewed.
Note that if you cannot get an inspection done, either because of a lack of engineers, or more likely, the tenant won't allow access you must contact both Trading Standards and your local Environmental Health Officer to advise them of the situation. Where possible you must get one done as it is a criminal offence not to have a gas inspection report (CP12).
You will still need to ensure all new lets will require an electrical certificate from July 1st this year. To be specific this is draft legislation and has not become law yet - don't rely on it not becoming law.
There was a shortage of qualified people to issue these certificates; I assume this has got worse.
And any property having an EPC rating of 'F' or 'G' will not able to be rented from April 1st (just over a weeks time) - unless they have an exemption.
Above all, keep a level head, and don't panic unnecessarily.
Copyright © 2020 iHowz Landlords Association, All rights reserved.
You are getting this because you are either a current, or lapsed member of the association. We felt it sufficiently important to send to everyone.
Our mailing address is:
iHowz Landlords Association
Riverside Business Centre
River Lawn Road
In addition to the iHowz advice, there is a useful NRLA webinar on this topic which is worth listening to, find it here: https://youtu.be/M4rmp2q9NzI
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.