Q: What is the current situation with letting new properties?
A: Unfortunately, as you will appreciate to protect all our colleagues and customers and in line with the new government restrictions on movement, we are unable to conduct viewings at the current time. Virtual viewings can be arranged where needed. We do have applicants registered that are still looking to move home and will continue to follow government guidelines and advice.
Q: I can’t arrange maintenance of my property, and some of the warranties are at risk of running out. What should I do?
A: If you are a fully managed landlord, supported by us, please make contact in the usual way.
For information, some warranties (which may have a time restriction) could be unaffected and we could contact your warranty provider to gain confirmation of this in writing. We can then reschedule a contractor or update the warranty provider once the current restrictions are lifted.
We are able to provide tenants with government guidance on the standard of cleaning that should be carried out at the property, should they be concerned that they have been affected by the virus. If you manage a property yourself, we suggest you follow the points above and refer to the official government guidance at all times.
Q: I am worried that my tenants will not be able to pay their rent soon. What should I do?
A: Measures to protect tenants from eviction have been announced in England, Scotland and Wales
On 25 March 2020 the UK Government confirmed, in relation to England & Wales:
- Emergency legislation is being progressed to prevent the commencement of any new eviction proceedings from social or private rented accommodation for at least the next 3 months while this national emergency is taking place. This initial period could be extended to 6 months if needed. Evictions already in progress can proceed although this is dependent on relevant court procedures being available.
- This means that no new possession proceedings will commence via applications to the court will start during this period.
- Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
During this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
Q: I could lose money if a tenant (who has already given notice) self isolates and I can’t arrange viewings for a new tenant. What are you going to do about this? Can I claim money back from the deposit?
A: It is anticipated that any tenant who self-isolates will continue to pay rent for the duration of their stay and therefore rent should continue to be paid.
Tenants are being instructed to advise us as soon as their self-isolation has ended and we can then, ensure that the tenant has cleaned the property to the required standard and, begin marketing the property. We will endeavour to begin this as soon as is possible to limit any financial impact on you.
Whether landlords can offset costs such as this against the security deposit will depend on the terms of the tenancy agreement in place.
Q: Do we have to disclose that a previous tenant had Coronavirus?
A: No. Where a previous tenant had the illness, the focus should be on ensuring that the property has been cleaned in accordance with government guidance. We will be encouraging potential applicants to apply their common sense and accept that there is very little risk provided that the property has been cleaned to the standard set out in government guidance.
Q: What are your recommendations in relation to the deep cleaning of a rental property following a tenant’s self-isolation?
A: The Government has issued guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Landlords may wish to supplement the cleaning, but this would be at your own cost.