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Useful guidance and support for dealing with tenants during Covid-19 outbreak

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.

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  • Sarah Crozier

    I house students one of whom has been training in local hospitals. She has symproms and they are now all self isolating. this means I cant get into the property to conduct viewings but I havent got any as noone wants to do viewings this year. So though I'll get rent til the end of the fixed short term tenancy as that is the end of July after that I will potentially have a void and no tenants. That income is what I and my son live off. What are we to do?


    Ditch the students and go for professionals for the next year if you can get them earlier. You're not a charity and it's first come first served. It's actually worse in Scotland where they're able to leave any time on 28 days notice. I'm going to focus on professionals from now on and the students will not have enough accommodation in September.


    30 Yrs ago I rented to students, did not take me long to ditch them and their snobby parents and move to honest working tenants.

  • Sarah Crozier

    I also have to have ready the onerous Additional Licensing application by 6 April and as Im unable to enter the property, I find it very hard to fulfil this. Why cant the council extend this deadline everyone else is extending or cancelling things? Its a great stress as due to Covid 19 I've not rented my property out yet for the followng year and yet have to pay a huge sum of money to the council and get fire doors and new locks which is all very onerous to think about at this time and not really practical as Ive no access to the property and wouldnt risk my life to enter anyway.

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    Agreed, but it is not going to work, we landlords are made of much stronger stuff than these sad whimps driving office desks in town halls.

    Sarah Crozier

    Yes They penalise small landlords whilst they, Newcastle Council are biggest landlord of all. They are set to make millions from this. Can anyone help me on this: As I've been unable to have viewings due Covid19 I'm likely to have no tenants ready for 1 August 2020. This means no rent from then and no income at all for me. Can I claim any financial help eg UC, SSP, or a bank loan under Covid19 business financial packages. Please help me as it's worrying me

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    Tenants receiving housing benefit shoul keep on paying to the LLs as usual minus the top up if they’ve lost the job although they can receive/apply for unemployment allowances


    Correct as they will still be receiving their housing benefit, but what's the betting that some will jump on the band wagon as they know that we cannot evict them for at least 3 months, but of course they will be homeless by next winter and only a few rouge landlords will consider renting to them then.

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    There might be a lot of cardboard boxes with vacant possession after all this. Who knows? Perhaps our DSS benefits bill will be slashed and paying the debts incurred for all the money getting thrown at the employed and self employed will actually be affordable?

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    My elderly aunt hasn’t managed her DSS tenants well. They are in arrears for quite a lot but currently paying rent with an amount towards the arrears. Their contract is due for renewal in June, can we renew with a small rent increase during Covid?


    I cannot see any reason for not increasing the rent

    Matthew Payne

    You can if the tenant agrees to it yes, assuming you want to avoid the use of section 21.


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