Tenancy expires during Covid-19 lockdown

by Readers Question

14:04 PM, 15th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Tenancy expires during Covid-19 lockdown

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Tenancy expires during Covid-19 lockdown

I am a landlord, having a 2 bed flat with 1 tenant. The tenancy agreement is due to expire early May.

The tenant says he doesn’t know if he can leave. He also just told me he can only pay half the rent as he lost his job.

I don’t mind giving him time to pay the full rent, but definitely not staying there after the agreement expires, not paying

1. can he stay in the flat without valid tenancy agreement?
2. can he stay in the flat without paying?
3. anything I can do?

Many Thanks

Jo


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Comments

The Forever Tenant

14:36 PM, 15th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Although there are others that will be able to go into the fine details about this, these are the rough answers to your questions

1) The tenancy will likely go over automatically to a periodic tenancy, so the tenancy agreement will remain valid.

2) Yes, though you have legal recourse to claim any owed money through the courts.

3) you will need to take legal action to evict, utilising Secion 21 and Section 8. With the current environment this is likely to take a considerable amount of time. Right now I would expect at least 9 months before you gained possession.

Neil Patterson

15:03 PM, 15th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Hi Jo,

If you are talking about the fixed term of the tenancy coming to an end then it will roll over to a Statutory Periodic. However, under the new emergency legislation the minimum term for a section 21 notice from now is 3 months.

Also Possession hearings have stopped so effective ability to take possession will be much longer as discussed in other articles.

JuliaL

15:39 PM, 15th April 2020
About 6 months ago

I am in the same situation, My tenant had until 11th April to move out so I understand that I cannot go for possession order , but as I only give my tenant 2 and half months back at the end of January, does this mean I have to start the whole process again giving a new 3 months notice? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. The good news for me is I will still get the rent as my tenant is on housing benefit.

Luke P

9:39 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Without purposely being rude Jo, you seemingly don’t have a clue and you’re lucky to have not had your fingers burned badly before now. Tenancies don’t, in a basic sense, expire. And the tenant absolutely can stay there for as long as they like and you don’t know what to do. You don’t even need a written tenancy, but the dates on your paperwork are little more than the minimum term you must allow them occupation for. Nothing really changes on the last date (other than the tenancy becoming periodic, which means little more than they can stay). Welcome to the world of landlording…leave all ideas of fairness and justice that apply to almost every other area of life at the door and learn a whole separate set of (infuriating) rules.

Luke P

9:41 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 15/04/2020 - 14:36
I wouldn’t suggest a minimum of 13 months as a ‘best case’.

Ingrid Bacsa

10:03 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 15/04/2020 - 15:03
Jo, ensure you send a rent schedule to him every month ... showing arrears accumulating. This will eventually lead to him paying a bit more every month, and you can agree an amount so ge can catch up. If he doesnt, eviction might be a bit quicker due to arrears.

Ingrid Bacsa

10:04 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Jo, ensure you send a rent schedule to him every month ... showing arrears accumulating. This will eventually lead to him paying a bit more every month, and you can agree an amount so he can catch up. If he doesnt, eviction might be a bit quicker due to arrears and he will have a bad credit record.

Paul Maguire

10:05 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

Landlords need to accept that in the current environment they can't do anything, no matter what their original legal agreements were. Work with your tenant and get whatever rent they can afford, knowing it'll be a lot less than it was and that they might not be able to pay it back in the future despite their promises today. I have tenants in that situation and the general plan is that none of us starve and come out at the other end together. The alternative is far worse for everyone.

Smartermind

10:17 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

The tenant hasn't said that he won't pay, what he has said is that he may only be able to afford to pay half as he has lost his job. In the current circumstances that is understandable. The lockdown means that he can't leave when the tenancy reaches the end of its fixed term and enters the periodic term, whether either of you want him to or not. Nor can you get a replacement tenant even if he did leave.

Surely anyone with any sense will realise that some rental income is better than none. If the tenant has otherwise been good, be kind and come to some mutual agreement and get it down in writing.

Lindsay Keith

10:22 AM, 16th April 2020
About 6 months ago

The best answer is from Paul Maguire above. The current situation is one we have not experienced before. Well-meaning people on both sides are dealing with what they may never have seen before, including being cast from steady maybe life-long employment and a first rent payment failure, Oh, Dear!! At least your tenant is talking to you. Subject to better advice elsewhere, I respectfully suggest firstly keep your tenant on-side and then you act on Luke P's underlying message, you need a crash course on the minefield that is L&T law!

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