A high number of buy-to-let landlords are concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus, but The Guild of Letting and Management has provided some practical guidance and advice to help you cope with the existing situation.
One of the most common questions many landlords are currently asking about is the announcement the government made on the 18th March 2020, relating to evictions and support for those renting, although it is important to point out that the new legislation has not yet been released.
A key topic on the Guild’s advice line is Rent. It is important to note, that not every single tenant in the UK has been made redundant, or is experiencing difficulty, therefore, it is important to ensure that this is dealt with on a case by case basis.
Points to consider:
1. Ensure the tenant is aware that rent is still due.
2. If the tenant is experiencing difficulty, guide them to the Department of Work & Pensions website where they can obtain the guidance they require regarding pay, statutory sick pay (SSP) and other relevant up to date information.
3. Ask tenants to put their concerns to you in writing. It is important that you are able to discuss the matter with all the relevant facts to hand.
4. Speak to your lender and find out what they are putting in place. Some landlords have already offered tenants a discount on rent or a "rent holiday". But remember, that as with the mortgage lenders, this deferred rent will have to be paid back at some point in the future.
5. Speak to the guarantor, where there is one. They should not be left out of any discussions regarding rent payments.
6. Check whether your insurer can offer rent and legal protection.
7. Keep records up to date. Every discussion, conversation over the phone, email, must be logged and documented.
8. Any pre-existing arrears (pre-18th March 2020) cannot be factored into this Coronavirus situation. Remember everyone is in the same boat. No one has experienced this before, This is not the same as the 2008 recession, this is a public health matter, so it is difficult for everyone involved on so many levels.