The PM has confirmed the Government will bring in emergency legislative measures to protect tenants unable to cover rent owing to the loss of household income attributable to the coronavirus. It is not yet clear what this will mean in practice, however it obviously suggests that landlords will be prevented from seeking eviction for the time being on the basis of arrears that result from the current situation.
Until the Government outlines in more detail what assistance it intends to offer tenants and indeed landlords who rely on rent to meet the cost of mortgage arrangements, property maintenance, tax liability, plus their own living costs, we recommend the following advice
- Mortgage lenders should be in a position to offer ‘mortgage holidays’, meaning structured breaks to monthly repayments patterns – and you will need to contact your lender to see what can be agreed in this respect;
- Landlords might consider negotiating temporary reductions in rent with their tenants on the basis a repayment plan (to commence once stability returns) can be agreed up front;
- Tenants might be eligible for state benefits that could meet (at least in part) the cost of housing needs, even if on a temporary basis.
The situation is changing rapidly, on a daily basis and realistically things are likely to get worse before we see an improvement. Acting now (for example contacting lenders sooner rather than later), might be the key to riding out the storm.
We will continue to support our members as best we can, and recognise that these are unprecedented times.