Covid-19 and Residential Tenants

The UK Government brought in emergency legislation under the Coronavirus Act. The Act provides additional protection for residential tenants. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are facing financial struggles due to the economic downturn and as result those in rented accommodation may be having difficulty paying their rent. 

Under the Act between the 26th March 2020 and 30th September 2020, Landlords are required to give a Tenants three months’ notice prior to issuing court proceeding to evict the Tenant for not paying rent or any other reason. The Act applies to all grounds of evictions and not just failure to pay rent and covers most accommodation in the private and social rented sectors. Court proceedings can be only be issued once the three months’ notice has expired and a judge has granted an eviction order if the Tenant has not left the property. It is hoped that this will give time for lockdown restrictions to have been lifted which in turn allows people to return to work and resume paying rent. 

The courts service has announced that any ongoing housing possession actions will be suspended for 90 days from the 27th March 2020. Any cases currently in the court system or due to enter it, cannot progress to the stage where the Tenant could be evicted until July 2020 at the earliest. 

The recommended advice for those Landlords with buy to let mortgages who are facing financial difficulties due to Tenants failure to pay rent should speak to their mortgage lender. Mortgage lenders are offering mortgage payment holidays of up to three months, only where it is needed due to Coronavirus related hardship. When offered a mortgage holiday, the remaining sum owed will continue to accrue interest during the payment holiday period.