Covid-19 – Emerging from Lockdown
Following on from the news that from Wednesday 13th May the Housing Market is “re-open” for business, it is clear that both Tenants and Landlords remain concerned and confused.
We have put together a few of the questions we have been asked over the last few days to try and help make sense of the Government Guidance?
Mr J a tenant, asks “Can I now move house?”
Technically, yes. There has been an amendment to Regulation 6 (l) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations. Previously a move could only happen where “reasonably necessary”. The amendment is wordy but essentially says that people can buy, sell and rent properties”. Guidance has been released on how this can be managed safely.
Ms P a Landlord, asks “Can I allow viewings on my empty flat?”
The Amendment Regulations say you can. However, the Guidance recommends that viewings are done virtually where possible first of all (e.g via Facetime, pre-recorded video). Where a physical viewing takes place, only a maximum of two members of the same household should attend, children should not come where possible, internal doors should be open, and people should not touch surfaces. You should wear a mask. Before, during and after the viewing hands should be washed with soap and water or sanitised. Surfaces and handles should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each viewing. The Government are also clear that you should only view if you are seriously considering the property. For this reason, as the Landlord, you should consider carrying out a pre-viewing application process to ensure that they are a suitable tenant.
Mr K a Landlord, asks “I have someone who wants to rent a room in a shared house. Can I allow them to move in?”
This is a bit of a grey area and really needs to be discussed with the other occupants. The Regulations allow you to as long as no one in the house, or the prospective tenant, is showing symptoms or is self-isolating. Communal areas need to be sanitised each time they have been used. However there is a question over whether you should be allowing more than two households to come together.
Miss W. a tenant, asks, “I’ve been furloughed. Do I still need to pay my rent?”
Your rent is still due in full as it is a contractual obligation. You should ask your Landlord if they would be willing to allow you to defer some of the rent until you are back at work. Keep in mind though that the rent will still need to be paid at some point so larger payments will have to be made over the coming months. Additionally remember that rent is often the Landlords main source of income and they may also have mortgage payments to make, so it is important that you agree to pay as much of the rent as you can.
Mrs S. a Landlord, asks “Are notice periods now back to two months for a Section 21?”
No. The changes made in the Coronavirus Act 2020 still remain the same. That is all notice periods are three months. This amendment is in place until 30th September 2020 and can be extended if the Government feel it is necessary.
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please get in touch.
Please note the date this article was published as the law may have changed since it was posted. You should always seek independent legal advice if you are intending to rely on any of the contents.All resources & news