My number one piece of advice is ALWAYS communication

by Paul Shamplina

14:43 PM, 26th March 2020
About A week ago

My number one piece of advice is ALWAYS communication

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My number one piece of advice is ALWAYS communication

From today, the Coronavirus Act extends the notice period required for possession using Section 8 and Form 6a (Section 21) from two months to three months.

I have worked with landlords for 27 years, been through two recessions and seen the crippling effect that falling into rent arrears can have both on landlords and tenants.

My number one piece of advice is ALWAYS communication and now, more than ever, I am urging landlords to work with their tenants. Pick up the phone, drop an email, send a text, reach out to see how they are affected by this crisis and similarly explain how it is affecting you.

Given the scale of the crisis we find ourselves in, no tenant should be evicted as a result of being affected by Covid-19. There is concern that the Coronavirus Act, previously thought to completely ban evictions for the next three months, does not prevent landlords from serving a notice of intention to possess. It only extends the notice period that a landlord is required to serve on a tenant from two months to three months.  However, I would point out that ongoing cases are already being adjourned, court buildings are closing, and evictions cancelled. This morning, the London Bailiff Centre contacted us [at Landlord Action] to say all evictions in March and April have been postponed and we have even had Section 21 possession claims sent back to us in the post. In reality, landlords may not be gaining possession of their property until the end of the year because of the new legislation change and delays to the court system, so I would advise landlords to work with their tenants as much as possible.

However, I would also urge tenants to realise that the vast majority of landlords are small property owners with one or two properties. Their ability to prop tenants up will be limited too, especially if their own circumstances have changed.  The new measures do not end a tenant’s liability for rental payments, just as a mortgage holiday for landlords does not exempt them from repaying the bank, it simply delays it. That is why it is in the best interests of all tenants and landlords to work together, understand each other’s limitations and establish a reasonable payment and review plan when the time is right.

Where tenants have been forced to reduce their earnings, what capacity do landlords have to mirror this in their rent? Landlords who are struggling to keep up with mortgage payments should contact their lender as soon as possible to see if they can take a mortgage holiday. Ultimately, landlords want to retain good tenants and tenants want to remain in their homes, so my plea to you all is to take a long-term view and support each other



Comments

Roy B

12:46 PM, 27th March 2020
About A week ago

My tenant was given notice to quit last September - and then requested and extension, which with hindsight I think I should have witheld,- which was granted, though he never acknowledged the extension in writing so notice was re-served in January for March possesion. When that period was nearing it's end he refused to pay rent and has said he will move out in March bu will not be paying rent and that he is not liable for the Boiler engineers charge for bleeding the boiler after running out of oil. Communication works both ways and when his ex-wife walked out I let him stay on without changing the tenancy because he could not find a guarantor. There have been no rent increases in the six years he has been there, he has failed to keep the garden, refused access to tradesmen, agreed access times and not been there, upset some tradesmen so much that one walked off the job, two more will not work at the property whilst he is a tenant and a fourth completed his work, was asked to quote for renewing the kitchen and said - not with him there, but not as politwly as that.Somehow I think he will be liviing rent free in a four bedroom house with his 18 year old daughter for the forseable future and if this carries on my retirement will be further postponed by x years. Wonder what happens when the mortgage ends in a couple of years?

Clint

13:15 PM, 27th March 2020
About A week ago

I have tenants who will be living rent free for several months although s8 notices and court applications were all served and applied to the courts for before March and one hearing on 25th March 20 has been cancelled until further notice. So that is no rent until further notice.


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