The government department responsible for Housing (MHCLG) have published a comprehensive document covering all aspects of renting for both tenants and landlords explaining what both can and should to to minimise the risk of Coronavirus.
Read the full document here: https://pdpla.com/useful-documents-list/288-mhclg-guidance-for-local-authority-coronavirus-guidance-for-rented-properties
The good news is the 1st thing it says is that tenants should continue to pay rent.
It also gives good guidance on how to handle inspections, maintenance and repairs in a range of situations - so it is worth checking to make sure you are 'doing it right' before you undertake any works.
However, we have said many times before that the more rules and clarifications that are put in place, the more people will change their behaviours and do things that they would not normally do in order to gain advantage - whether that be minimising their taxes or reducing their liabilities. Unfortunately, this document falls into the same trap, section 1.15 states:
"1.15 I am a landlord and I want to reduce rent for my tenant. Will this breach the deposit cap as defined by the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
• If you want to offer your tenant a rent reduction, temporarily or permanently, there is no need to repay part of the deposit immediately – the deposit cap imposed by the Tenant Fees Act 2019 is linked to initial rent levels."
We do worry that some may see this as the way around deposit restrictions and start charging a very high 'initial rent' followed by a significantly lower ongoing rent to allow a larger deposit to be taken.
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.