Coronavirus – Government intervention for Landlords and Tenants

by Readers Question

10:34 AM, 7th April 2020
About 2 months ago

Coronavirus – Government intervention for Landlords and Tenants

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Coronavirus – Government intervention for Landlords and Tenants

I have written a detailed article on the Governments intervention for Landlords and Tenants and provided  links to various references and articles including the recent discussion. Click here

Most landlords will know by now that the government has suspended all current possession claims in the legal system (thought to be around 20,000) and imposed a THREE Month Notice period on Section 21, Or, Section 8 notices served after 26/3/2020

This has been for ‘health reasons’ and limited welfare assistance has been put in place. However, there are instances already emerging of tenants not passing this onto Landlords and for the Tenants who could afford to pay the rent, or a part of it, but choose not to.

Civil Justice has been withdrawn for at least three months.

I’m afraid to say that the situation is far worse than that!

In the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants published 28th March 2020 Click here  paragraph 1.7  states: “The government is working with the Master of the Rolls to widen the existing pre-action protcol on possession proceedings for Social Landlords, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit. (This is AFTER the 3 month delay on service of a Section 8 notice!)   [ Justice Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords –  Click here ]

Simply put, Social Landlords grant Assured tenancies that are subject to the Pre-Action protocol. The protocol adds a series of [ time-consuming ] measures that have to be followed before a successful Possession order can be obtained.

Perhaps the worse aspect is that a Landlord has to carry out the equivalent of the Debt Pre-action protocol and discuss with the tenant a reasonable and affordable repayment plan for the arrears, after the service of a Statutory Possession notice (Form 3) and before instigating proceedings. If the Landlord doesn’t follow a number of steps set out  the court has the option Not to order outright possession and could even award costs against the landlord.

I think it’s a case of, When, rather than if, the Master of the Rolls accedes to the governments – MHCLG’s request to add Private sector Assured shothold tenancies to the protocol.

Upon such, AST’s will, for Rent arrears claims, at least at present, become effectively Assured tenancies, and I’m not overly confident the situation would be reversed, post Corona.

There are limited options open to landlords, although there are some in certain circumstances.

Possession Friend are offering Free Advice to Landlords who are affected by the Possession restrictions and there is guidance on how to obtain that on our full article: Click here



Comments

Gman7266

12:01 PM, 7th April 2020
About 2 months ago

I rent a 3 bed house, and the fixed term 6 month tenancy on my two (previously working) tenants comes to an end in 15 days time.

They pay 6 months upfront, because they are on freelance jobs and can't pass a reference. For the new contract in 15 days they want to pay monthly due to the uncertainty.

I can't see anything in the Covid-19 guidance that says I need to accept this. As far as I can see, the Gov guidance is about existing tenancies - not granting new ones. Am I right?

Rob Crawford

12:51 PM, 7th April 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gman7266 at 07/04/2020 - 12:01They are guidelines, as such you can suggest other options. But taking all into consideration are your current tenants really going to pay 6 months up front for another term. A tenant paying on a monthly basis is better than none!

Chris Bradley

10:19 AM, 8th April 2020
About 2 months ago

If you are at the end of a six month contract and you haven't given them the required notice to quit then it becomese a periodic and they would pay monthly.
I'm not sure I'd want to sign someone up for 6 mths if their employment/rent affordability is uncertain.

Ray Davison

11:29 AM, 8th April 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Bradley at 08/04/2020 - 10:19
If (and it is an if) the AST has been written that rent payments are six monthly (Not monthly with the first payment being of 6 months rent) then I am pretty sure that 'The Period' of the periodic tenancy becomes six months and they would therefore be required to pay every six months. Many AST that try to do this are however not written correctly.

Mike Thornton

12:06 PM, 18th April 2020
About a month ago

Hi - we spoke a week back about my tenant who was already 2 months in arrears and serviced S8 a week before the 27th March which was helpful.

Do you have any update on tenancies becoming like ‘assured’ tenancies? I sincerely hope the governments request for us following pre-action protocol doesn’t become law.

Kash

19:24 PM, 22nd April 2020
About a month ago

I recently had a consultation with Possession Friend regarding a rent arrears situation I was facing with one of my tenants. They were very professional and clearly understand the plight of landlords during this difficult time. I highly recommend them.


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